South Africa’s health minister placed on special leave over graft claims

South Africa’s health minister placed on special leave over graft claims

Zweli Mkhize has been under pressure to step aside for weeks in wake of graft allegations

By Hassan Isilow

PRETORIA, South Africa (AA) - South Africa’s president placed Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on special leave Tuesday following allegations that his ministry irregularly awarded a COVID-19 related communications contract to a company run by his associates.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said the period of special leave will enable Mkhize to attend to allegations and investigations concerning the contract between the Ministry of Health and a service provider, Digital Vibes.

“The Special Investigating Unit is investigating this matter and the President awaits a report on the outcome of this probe,” Ramaphosa’s office said in a statement Tuesday.
Communications company Digital Vibes, which is said to have irregularly won a contract to do communications work for the Health Ministry about COVID-19, is said to belong to close associates of the minister.

Mkhize has been under pressure for weeks to step aside as investigations continue until he was placed on special leave Tuesday.

Ramaphosa said Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane will now serve as acting health minister until further notice.

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