SCORPIO

Exposed: Digital Vibes bankrolled maintenance work at Zweli Mkhize property; R300k paid to minister’s son

By Pieter-Louis Myburgh 28 May 2021
Caption
Illustrative image | Sources: Health minister Zweli Mkhize pictured with Tahera Mather and Naadhira Mitha (far right with glasses) on 26 March 2019. Dr Zweli Mkhize, his wife, Dr May Mkhize, and their son, Dedani, in 2017. (Photo: @MYANC twitter account/Facebook) | Gallo Images / Darren Stewart / Waldo Swiegers

Daily Maverick’s Scorpio can reveal that Department of Health contractor Digital Vibes settled invoices for maintenance work at a property owned by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize’s family trust. Digital Vibes also transferred at least R300,000 to a company owned by Mkhize’s son.

Digital Vibes, the communications firm at the centre of an alleged corruption storm over a R150-million contract from the Department of Health (DoH), made at least two payments to a contractor for maintenance and repair work at a Johannesburg property owned by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize’s ZLM Trust.

Digital Vibes also transferred at least R300,000 to a company owned by Mkhize’s son.

The latter payment was made in May 2020 to All Out Trading, an entity whose sole director is Dedani Mkhize (33). 

Mkhize Jr did not respond to queries sent to him and to his wife. His cellphone appeared to be switched off when we tried to call him for comment.

Mkhize and the DoH were questioned about the payments for the property maintenance bills, but they did not provide feedback.

Our latest revelations seemingly contradict earlier denials from Mkhize that he had benefited from the deal.

“Let me categorically state that I have not personally benefited from this contract,” Mkhize said on Wednesday, 26 May, during a media briefing regarding the Digital Vibes matter. 

Dr Zweli Mkhize, his wife, Dr May Mkhize, and their son, Dedani, in 2017. (Photo: @MYANC twitter account)

Scorpio can reveal that Digital Vibes made two payments, one in June and the other in July 2020, totalling nearly R7,000 to settle invoices from an electrical contractor for work at an upmarket townhouse in Bryanston, Johannesburg. 

At the time, the property was owned by the ZLM Trust. One of its three trustees is Dr May Mkhize, the minister’s wife. 

“ZLM” appears to stand for Zweli Lawrence Mkhize. 

Crucially, the minister’s surname and cellphone number are listed on the contractor’s invoices. 

Cranbrook Google Street View’, caption: Mkhize’s ZLM Trust owned a townhouse in this upmarket residential complex in Johannesburg. (Photo: Google Maps Street View)

Responding to queries, Dr May Mkhize confirmed that the Bryanston townhouse was a “family property”, but she strongly denied any knowledge of payments from Digital Vibes for the maintenance work. 

Mkhize said she was “shocked, to say the least, how maintenance of a family property would be linked to this irregular contract”.

“All matters that have related to the upkeep, maintenance etc were always reported to me. Just like any household we have attended to a few minor maintenance, electrical or plumbing issues over the years, but I have never requested Digital Vibes or any of its representatives to make a single payment towards such upkeep,” stated Mkhize.

She said a housekeeper would normally report any maintenance issues to her, after which she organised and paid for any work done by contractors. 

“I am now taken aback that there were contractors who were paid by third parties without my knowledge,” said Mkhize.

She said she took this matter “very seriously” and would request that it be explained to her. 

“But I want to categorically state that I have never ever had any dealings with Digital Vibes or requested financial favours from them,” Mkhize emphasised.

The ZLM Trust sold the property in February 2021, according to deeds office records. 

It seems highly probable that the payments from Digital Vibes to the electrical contractor and to Dedani Mkhize’s company were directly linked to the DoH contract. 

During the period in 2020 during which Digital Vibes made these transfers, almost all of the money the company received came from the DoH.

Dr. Zweli Mkhize and his son, Dedani, at the 2019 State of the Nation Address in Cape Town. (Photo: Vuk’uzenzele Government Newspaper)

Its only other source of income were two transfers totalling less than R450,000 from the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA), according to financial records.

These were the final payments for a communications contract that MISA, an entity of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), had awarded to Digital Vibes in 2018. At the time, Mkhize was the minister for Cogta. 

Tahera Mather and Naadhira Mitha, Mkhize’s long-time associates and the alleged masterminds behind Digital Vibes, did not respond to queries. DM

Read the rest of our coverage here.

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All Comments 16

      • Above 3 might not be directly involved in bribery or corruption , but are members of a criminal organisation, They are surely aiding and abetting criminals. The previous Min of Economic Decline’s c track record speaks for itself. All are semi communist Big Brother neurotic control freaks.

  • I’m shocked too!
    This is the guy that needs to communicate how my 85 yr old mother will get her vaccine.
    Registered on day one, she is on the system, then nothing.
    Failure.
    But R 150 bar in some kitchen account.

    Stop it!

    • Remember he used to be the Treasurer General of cANCer, taking all the kickbacks to the Party from Tenders. But his hands are clean? No, soiled with cANCer dirt and grime. Funny how GRIME rhymes with CRIME.

  • “I’m shocked” that this was so poorly hidden by Digital Vibes! They should know better when it comes to hiding kickbacks.

  • This is further proof of how the whole of the ANC is implicated and how they do not follow the constitution, which would compel them to proceed to lay charges against and prosecute the Minister, and not just ‘step aside’.

  • Dr Mkhize is a liar and a looter. What is even more astounding is that Cyril has not acted against him given all these revelations!

  • Sterling work Pieter-Louis!
    The ANC government should hang their heads in shame for stealing from the poor and giving to the rich

  • Amazing how his phone is off when you guys call, but when I bet he answered when the phone call was to request a bank account number to pay the money into. Wonder how he runs a reputable business when he doesn’t even answer his phone. Boggles the mind. Reason enough there to put a legal and moral case for why he is not entitled to the money… that’s before you even try to ascertain if any value was delivered from his side, that’s another whole story.

  • While not seeming to want to defend the indefensible, there are the words “It seems highly probable …. ” in the article that makes me hesitate … for now ! After all … this person must have sworn to the Hippocratic (or is it hypocrisy?) oath also ? Notwithstanding Farid Esack’s brave start .

  • State Capture is starting to sound like a misnomer. It seems our inestimably greedy cadres were banging down the door in a desperate attempt to be captured – like a john in a whorehouse playing tag with the strippers.

  • Disheartening to say the least. I am so sad for the future of our country. It seems this is never going to end and every day more bombshells, a never ending merry go round of dishonestly and corruption. Under every rock is a nest of spiders. I can’t even read about the Zondo commission any longer, the bad news just keeps coming. I fear for the future of our children and grandchildren. Worst of all, I don’t see a workable solution short term or long term.

  • You have to laugh these idiots give away R150M for a R2M job and then get paid off for a couple of hundred thousand.

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