“This special leave will allow the minister to deal with allegations and investigations into contracts between the Ministry of Health and a service provider, Digital Vibes,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
“The special investigation unit is investigating this matter and the president awaits a report on the outcome of the investigation,” the statement said, adding that Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane will take over the health portfolio in the meantime.
The scandal surrounding the Digital Vibes contract has dominated the headlines in the country for weeks and triggered calls for Mkhize to resign.
Prior to the Ramaphosa announcement, Mkhize made a statement to the press saying, “I acknowledge and take personal responsibility for the public outrage caused by this Digital Vibes contract.”
“The negative discourse not only affected and affected me, but also my family. Most importantly, it has influenced the cooperation of our government, led by the President, in the ongoing efforts to fight the Covid-19 situation. It has caused some disturbance too, and for all of this I apologize wholeheartedly, “Mkhize said.
Mkhize said an internal report announced on May 26 “identified irregularities in the contract and excessive or futile spending in this contract,” but stressed that he personally “had no role to play in the award of the contract and there was no personal benefit” .
When asked whether he and the president had discussed his possible resignation, Mkhize said: “We did not discuss the issue of resignation, but the issue of special leave until the SIU report.”