The special tribunal ruled on Tuesday in the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU’s) joinder request as the unit seeks to recover millions of rand from six entities and individuals allegedly receiving money from the illegal health ministry contract awarded to digital vibes.
The case was before Judge Lebogang Modiba, who heard arguments virtual of the legal representatives of the companies and individuals involved in the SIU’s investigations into the R150 million contract awarded to close associates of former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
Mkhize resigned last year after the SIU submitted its damning report to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The report found that Mkhize and his family personally benefited from the multi-million rand tender, which was intended for the health department’s National Health Insurance (NHI) communications work and later for Covid-19 media campaigns.
Mkhize has adopted the report from the SIU legal assessmentalleging that his submissions and evidence were not considered by the unit.
During Tuesday’s proceedings before the Special Tribunal, lawyer Barry Roux, acting on behalf of the SIU, explained in more detail the basis of the SIU’s joinder request.
He said the SIU wanted to admit the six entities and individuals to its main request because they allegedly had a legal interest in the subject matter of the SIU’s main request to the tribunal.
Roux argued that the SIU wanted to hold the respondents – including All Out Trading (Pty) Ltd, Cedar Falls Properties 34 (Pty) Ltd and others – liable for funds received from the health department’s “disputed transactions” arising out of the digital vibes contract.
In addition, the acceding respondents have a direct and substantial interest in the case beyond a mere commercial interest, as the SIU claimed that the payments they received were gratifications that directly benefited the family members of the fifth respondent in the main application. , the former Minister of Health.
“The payments were therefore intended for the indirect satisfaction of the former minister who would have played a role in the wrongful appointment of Digital Vibes,” Roux said in his speech.
The SIU further argued that the joinder request must be awarded with costs, including the costs of two legal counsel.
Attorney John Pamenter, acting on behalf of Cedar Falls Properties 34, criticized the SIU for the approach it took in their case to join Cedar Falls in the main petition.
Pamentter argued that the unit’s affidavits and reasons for the joinder filing did not reveal any cause for action against his client.
“In the circumstances, it is argued that the joinder request with costs should be dismissed,” he said.
Judge Modiba thanked the parties for their assistance in the case and reserved the verdict in the case.