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An open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa: Seeing as you won’t act against Zweli Mkhize, we will

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John Steenhuisen is the leader of the Democratic Alliance.

The DA shadow minister for health, Siviwe Gwarube, will lay criminal charges against Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize and health director-general Dr Sandile Buthelezi for contravening both the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act and the Public Finance Management Act.

Dear President Ramaphosa,

Your silence on the unfolding saga around health minister Zweli Mkhize and the irregularly awarded Digital Vibes contract can no longer be justified or accepted. 

Unless you speak up on the issue and follow this with action against the errant minister, South Africans will be left with no choice but to believe that his behaviour has your blessing.

The verified information already in the public domain is more than enough to satisfy any possible requirement for action on your part. This R150-million contract was not only irregularly awarded — as the minister has publicly conceded — but it was indeed signed off by the minister himself, which in itself is highly irregular and reason for alarm.

By now you should know better than to take at face value an accused member of your executive’s claims that he or she didn’t know the details of a particular contract, or isn’t acquainted with a particular individual. 

The minister’s signature on the contract, along with the subsequent revelations of reciprocal largesse from Digital Vibes towards the minister and his son, outweigh his solemn protestation of innocence many times over. 

If he continues to serve in your Cabinet in the face of this evidence, we can reasonably assume that he does so with your full approval.

Talking about cleaning up your government and your party is easy, which is why we have heard you do so much of it in recent years. However, doing it is another matter entirely. It’s not good enough to only direct this clean-up action at your political enemies inside the ANC. 

Yes, the likes of Ace Magashule must step aside — and then be charged and prosecuted — but the same goes for those whom you consider your allies, or at least not politically hostile towards you. If they abuse the system for personal gain, they too must go.

This scandal around minister Mkhize has now progressed way beyond the point where you can still claim to be assessing the information in order to make a decision. You need to act.

But we in the DA know better than to hold out hope for such action. 

After all, you took no action against public works minister Patricia De Lille for her role in the infamous Beitbridge “washing line” border fence scandal. And you’ve said nothing yet on your deputy minister of state security Zizi Kodwa’s outrageous kickbacks scandal. 

Selective intolerance for corruption does not serve the interests of the people of South Africa, which is why the DA will take action of our own.

On 2 June 2021, the DA shadow minister for health, Siviwe Gwarube, laid criminal charges against minister Mkhize as well as health director-general Dr Sandile Buthelezi for contravening both the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act and the Public Finance Management Act. The latter specifies that contracts must be signed off by an accounting officer and not the executive authority — something minister Mkhize would have known.

Our scope for action may be limited compared to what you can do as president and head of the executive, but rest assured, we will do everything in our power to keep the corrupt far away from public money.

Citizens of South Africa need to see the same commitment from their president. Please do not disappoint them.

Yours sincerely,

John Steenhuisen: Leader, Democratic Alliance. DM

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All Comments 16

  • Great news thanks Mr Steenhuisen. It is this action that is required, with determination to follow through. We also notice that the budget for the National Prosecuting Authority has systematically over the years been reduced. That fact speaks volumes. Aside from these issues, we are now in a new era. The ANC has actually done it now properly. When you actually put all of our lives at risk in order to benefit yourselves you have broken an ultimate trust. South Africa will new realize you cannot be trusted at all.

  • CR can’t act against his “own people”. He must rely on state institutions and/or opposition parties to do it, and so I’m glad the DA is dealing with it.

  • Bravo, Bravo, bravo… Finally some action and backbone from the DA. Well done Mr. steenhuisen… Not that it will make any difference in the unwinnable fight against those…. I better not say the word I have in mind for the bunch …. Its like squeezing a tear out of a stone… They are all the same and won’t change. But it’s a bump in the road for them at least , or shall we say POTHOLE rather… Hahaha. Is there any one of them, anyone, any single ANC cadre. Anyoneone!!!? Who is honest, ever heard the word ETHICS!!! does not steal and loot.
    If so, I really want to know, we all do…. Maybe they have one in their mids, but they hide him good for sure.
    MICHAEL HONSA

  • And yet the majority of South Africans are going to return the ANC to power in the next elections and blame their lack of jobs, opportunities and service delivery on apartheid and by mental arithmetics the DA.

  • Good letter from Steenhuisen, well done. It’s a pity however that the DA continue to have to be the “Policemen” in SA politics instead of being able to get out there where it counts and motivate the communities to work together for the betterment of all South Africans especially the disenfranchised. That has been left to the EFF who make false promises but whose votes in the last election were the only ones showing growth!

  • Well done Mr Steenhuisen. Unfortunately the political landscape in SA leaves the opposition party with very little power. But this action you are taking now is a great example of what the opposition can and should be doing. I think President Ramaphosa has earned our respect, but its clear that he needs a bit of a push to turn his tough talk into tough action.

    • “Earned our respect”??? Hogwash. Only when we start seeing proper ACTION, will we only BEGIN to start thinking of giving him any respect! He’s been thoroughly disappointing and weak, to say the least!

  • Moer hulle. While you are at it, ask the MoH where he was and what he did to protect the health of the thousands of citizens in the Coal Belt who suffered and is still suffering from poor air quality. Could he not hear that they cannot breath?

  • I had great hopes for CR and I always thought that CR had a “softly, softly, catch a monkey” (no aspersion intended) approach and I was willing to be patient. He’s a very astute man, and now considering that he was Deputy President for all those years how could he not have known “what was going on”????
    I cry inside for the country that I love so much, but console myself that at 83 I hope I don’t live long enough to see the inevitable. I’m grateful that my children decided over 32 years ago to seek another life and that the grandchildren do not have to grow up here!

  • The DA’s action is needed and worthwhile. (Who else would undertake this?). But the sad fact is that the ANC does not know how to ‘do the right thing’. It does not self-correct, and Cyril is too distracted by keeping the whole rotten network from imploding. This is the price we pay for tolerating a thoroughly corrupted party, driven by self-interest.

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