healthcare

South Africa's health minister put on special leave over graft allegations

June 9, 2021

Investigation into the contracts awarded to communications firm Digital Vibes

JOHANNESBURG- South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa put his Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on special leave on Tuesday, after allegations his department irregularly awarded COVID-19-related contracts to a communications company controlled by his former associates.

It was the latest in a series of corruption allegations linked to coronavirus-related tenders that have caused public outrage. Ramaphosa has promised that corruption during the COVID-19 pandemic will be dealt with harshly.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mkhize told the press that he had approached the president about taking a special leave pending an investigation into the contracts awarded to communications firm Digital Vibes. He has previously denied any wrongdoing.

'This period of special leave will enable the Minister to attend to allegations and investigations concerning contracts between the Department of Health and a service provider, Digital Vibes,' Ramaphosa's office said in a statement.

Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane will serve as acting Minister of Health until further notice, it added.

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