President Cyril Ramaphosa's withholding of the Special Investigating Unit's (SIU) report on the government’s contract with Digital Vibes, from which the Minister of Health, Zweli Mkhize, allegedly derived benefit, is sending out the wrong signals.
It appears as if the President is hesitant to disclose the report at this stage. The FF Plus finds this totally unacceptable.
Whoever is named in the report and possibly implicated in committing fraud and corruption must not only be disclosed, but must also face the punishment they deserve.
This past week, various media reports appeared in the news alleging that Minister Mkhize and his family derived personal financial benefit from the Digital Vibes contract.
The SIU reportedly found that the procurement procedures that were followed in awarding the National Health Insurance's communication strategy contract to Digital Vibes were deeply flawed, unlawful and probably invalid.
According to some of the reports, it seems that Digital Vibes was irregularly favoured in the bidding process as well.
It also seems that at this stage, even more officials in the Department of Health are being implicated in the scandal and, therefore, it is in the public interest for the President to disclose the report at once.
By not doing so, the impression is created that various persons who are named in the report are being protected. And in the meantime, South Africa finds itself in a critical stage of a pandemic without a Minister of Health, who is supposed to head the fight against Covid-19.
The Department and its officials now only have themselves and the acting minister to rely on while trying to remedy the situation.
The President must see to it that Mkhize appears before Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Health to explain what exactly is going on between him and Digital Vibes.
If he does not want to appear before the Committee, the President must ensure that the SIU’s report is disclosed immediately so that justice can run its course and Mkhize as well as the those implicated can be duly prosecuted.
Appointing an experienced and competent individual to serve as Minister of Health is a matter of absolute urgency and the President must act quickly as South Africa needs someone to guide it through this pandemic.