South Africa health minister put on ‘special leave’

South Africa’s health minister Zweli Mkhize has been placed on special leave over a corruption scandal involving an irregular government contract

Zweli Mkhize has been spearheading the COVID-19 response in South Africa, which has the most cases and deaths in Africa.

The move was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in a statement from his office. It said Mkhize was placed on special leave from his job “to attend to allegations and investigations” around the irregular contract.

South Africa’s minister of tourism would step in as acting health minister, the president said. South Africa’s Special Investigative Unit is still probing the contract and hasn’t released a report, although Mkhize’s own health department has already found that the contract was “irregular.”

Mkhize has denied that he personally benefited from the contract and claimed he wasn’t involved in its awarding.

There are new allegations that Mkhize’s son personally benefitted from the contract.

It’s one of multiple corruption scandals that have tainted the South African government’s virus response.

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