Mkhize should have stepped aside in wake of corruption allegations: SAFTU

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The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) says Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize should have taken a decision to step aside in the wake of corruption allegations levelled against him. President Cyril Ramaphosa has placed Mkhize on special leave amid allegations of his role in the awarding of a multi-million rand contract to Digital Vibes.

SAFTU’s General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, has raised questions over Tourism Minister Mamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane being appointed to act in Mkhize’s position, when the Health Department has a deputy health minister

“I think that he should have resigned a long time ago, as soon as that cupboard was opened by Amabungane, he should have just stepped aside. I think that the president should have long shown him the door. The problem with the president is that most of his ministers are in the newspapers for all the wrong reasons and there is no action from him. What are these deputy ministers for? We have 2-3 in some of the departments, executives way above 60 people. We need to bring the numbers down from where we started.”

Reaction of political parties

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

Meanwhile, Mkhize on Tuesday apologised for the dark cloud the allegations around Communications Company Digital Vibes have caused.

Minister Mkhize apologises for scandal: