Business Day reported on June 29 that President Cyril Ramaphosa has decided to permanently remove Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Earlier this month Mkhize was asked to take a leave of absence, pending a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report regarding a multimillion-rand contract irregularly awarded to associates of his. Apparently, Ramaphosa “consulted widely” and decided on an “informed decision to remove” Mkhize in order to set “an example” and strengthen the credibility of his reform agenda.

On Wednesday (30 June) Ramaphosa will be presented with the final SIU report into a R150-m communications contract that was awarded to Digital Vibes for work related to National Health Insurance before being extended to projects on Covid-19.

Ramaphosa is on record as saying that he will decide on Mkhize’s fate once the SIU hands in its findings. Mkhize does not expect a favourable outcome and is already planning a legal challenge of the SIU’s conclusions, reported Business Day.

Limpopo health MEC Phophi Ramathuba, who has overseen a relatively impressive vaccination programme, is seen as the front-runner as new Minister of Health. Former Deputy Health Minister Gwen Ramokgopa and Parliament’s health portfolio chair, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, are also being considered.

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