Reputation analyst Tshepo Matseba says the international health sector is likely to respond negatively to news that Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has been placed on special leave.

The decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday comes as Mkhize admitted that the awarding of a R150-million tender to the company Digital Vibes, was irregular.

However, Matseba says the move sends out a strong message around government’s stance on corruption.

“I think globally the health profession in the form of the WHO and peers of health facilities globally will be very disappointed because on the whole Mkhize was doing a very good job. But unfortunately, issues around the suspicion of corruption creates a space of doubt and so for us internationally it’s going to send a vote of confidence that the country is uncompromising when it comes to corruption.”

Political parties react

The Congress of the People (COPE) says it rejects President Ramaphosa’s decision to place Mkhize on special leave. COPE says Mkhize should have been fired.

COPE spokesperson Dennis Bloem says, “COPE rejects President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to place Minister Zweli Mkhize on special leave. President Ramaphosa should fire Zweli Mkhize. The corruption allegations against him are very serious. Corruption in this country will never stop when these people are being treated with kid gloves. We cannot trust him anymore with the fight against COVID-19.”

Political parties react to Mkhize’s placement on special leave:

Meanwhile, in welcoming President Ramaphosa’s decision to place Mkhize on special leave, the Freedom Front-Plus leader Pieter Groenewald says Ramaphosa should have acted much swiftly and earlier.

“The Freedom Front Plus welcomes the decision of the President to put the Health Minister Dr Mkhize on special leave. In fact, the President should have acted much earlier. He should not have waited until so much pressure is put on him as President to act in their specific case. We would also like to see that in future, any allegations against any Minister in his cabinet of misconduct, or specific cases of corruption, that they also put those members immediately on special leave. That is the right thing to do and to ensure that there is clean administration in his cabinet.”

DA Shadow Health Minister Siviwe Gwarube says the party will lay a complaint with Parliament’s Ethics Committee against Mkhize. She says the committee must investigate Mkhize’s possible contravention of Section 5 of the Ethical Code. She also says the Portfolio Committee on Health has failed to do its work in holding him to account for his actions.