Allow me time and space to handle Zweli Mkhize, Digital Vibes saga – Ramaphosa
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Pretoria – Even though he has received the report of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) which probed the Department of Health’s controversial R150 million Covid-19 communications contract awarded to Digital Vibes, President Cyril Ramaphosa has yet to make a decision on the fate of embattled Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, who is on special leave.
“I’ve received the SIU report but there is still some finalisation of certain aspects which we are going to get. So I am looking at it, and I’m studying it (the SIU report). So allow me the time and the space to look at that,” Ramaphosa told journalists on Thursday while touring a vaccination site in Tembisa, Gauteng.
Journalists asked Ramaphosa if he was considering reconfiguring his cabinet, considering that South Africa does not have a substantive health minister – despite the country battling a precarious Covid-19 pandemic.
The president responded: “Well, the issue of reconfiguring cabinet is an ongoing consideration by any president. You look at how you deploy the people you are working with, and how you place those people to execute various tasks.
’’So it is an ongoing process of evaluation and all that. It’s not something that we would say it is an outlandish process. We continue to look at it”.
Ramaphosa declined, however, to be drawn into whether he will be replacing some of the ministers in the security cluster, following the apparent failure to foresee and manage the recent riots which left hundreds of people dead, and billions of rand lost through widespread looting and vandalism.
“What are you trying to get me to say… that I am going to fire ministers and all that? As I said, the process of people who are deployed to work with any leader even in a cabinet situation is a process that you evaluate, and it’s best to leave it there. It is best to leave it there. It is a process that one does, as one evaluates everything and everyone that you work with,” Ramaphosa responded to journalists’ queries in Tembisa, Gauteng.
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi has been doubling as national health minister after Ramaphosa placed Mkhize on special leave over the tender scandal. Digital Vibes is accused of inflating prices and doing work that the department could have done internally.
It was also alleged that a house owned by Mkhize’s family trust had renovations financed by the company, which also purchased a vehicle for Mkhize’s son, Dedani.
African News Agency (ANA)