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OPINION:Commerce Minister Mancoba Khumalo must step down as health crisis Cabinet Select Committee Chairman,he is an alleged friend to SwaziPharm Director Kareem Ashraff.

Wednesday, 13th December, 2023

Section 27(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act of  2006 suggests that,an undeclared conflict of interest amounts to corruption and therefore,Commerce, Industry and Trade Minister Mancoba Khumalo must step down as the Chairman of the health crisis Cabinet Select Committee by virtue of being a friend to alleged drugs shortage thief and SwaziPharm Wholesalers Director Kareem Ashraff.

Just like Isiah Mzuthini Ntshangase, the then Commissioner General of the Correctional Services, Minister Mancoba Khumalo is a ‘hardworking’ political mafia and if you are not intelligent enough, you can focus on his good work in the public domain that might overshadow his shady dealings.

A hardworking political mafia in the context of this article,is the kind of a politician who might appear to be credible in the public eye yet behind the scenes is colluding with the corrupt to steal public funds,a hard working political mafia is highly skilled in managing his/her public image.

It’s a principle that,failure to declare a conflict of interest amounts to corruption because the intention is to abuse power for dishonesty gain.

It should be noted that,during one of the presentations by Funduzi Forensic Services to the previous Cabinet,Minister Mancoba Khumalo tried to use a ‘mafia style’ to stop the ongoing investigation into the shortage of drugs in public hospitals. 

Indeed,it was a ‘mafia style’ on the grounds that, Chief Procurement Officer in the Ministry of Health Sincendile Dlamini,one of the suspects and Ashraff’s alleged partner in crime,allegedly ‘trapped’ Funduzi Forensic Services investigator Charles Kwereza with an alleged intention to undermine the credibility of the investigations.

Mancoba Khumalo was vocal during the Cabinet meeting demanding that,the investigation must be halted but he was overruled by the other members of the Cabinet.

Now,during a recent press conference,the Cabinet Select Committee tasked with addressing the health crisis and chaired by the Commerce Minister suggested that,one of the strategies to address the health crisis “is to pay suppliers who are being owed by government so that they can start delivering drugs”.

We hope companies belonging to Kareem Ashraff are not among the suppliers allegedly owed by the State, Ashraff is owing this country millions that were stolen from public coffers.

Therefore,should we see any payment belonging to Ashraff being processed,we will definitely inform the public as usual.

Worth-noting,the health crisis was not triggered by government’s failure to pay suppliers but looting of public funds,millions were paid to Ashraff’s companies and other suppliers but some of these suppliers failed to deliver the drugs.

As a result,those who looted are known and they must be arrested and their assets be attached and auctioned to recover the monies.

But even before we blame government for delaying payments for suppliers,we must first investigate if those who were paid delivered the drugs.

Mancoba Khumalo must know that we are monitoring each and every decision of the Cabinet Select Committee.

The health crisis is a very serious matter and as you read this article, patients are dying in public hospitals,the investigation by the police must be intensified so that the State can seize properties belonging to the suspects.

Commerce Minister Mancoba Khumalo was speaking nonsense when suggesting that,Government must pay suppliers,as the Chairman of the Select Committee tasked with addressing the health crisis,he should have mentioned the source of funds to pay the suppliers.

The budget for the Ministry of Health was looted by Kareem Ashraff and his corrupt syndicate and as we address the health crisis,we must work towards recovering the stolen public funds.

Well,if Mancoba Khumalo thinks Government must pay suppliers without closing the leaking tape of corruption,that would mean he is pushing a corrupt agenda.

The new Health Minister Mduduzi Matsebula and Principal Secretary(PS) Khanya Mabuza need financial support to address the health crisis, funds must be allocated to the Ministry of Health but we want to see the suspects behind bars and their assets must be attached.

We will ensure that the Minister and the PS are not made scapegoats because now we are well informed regarding the looting that has been manifesting within the Ministry of Health.

As stakeholders,we must address the health crisis collectively and should this fail,we must identify who is causing the delay and that person or institution must be dealt with.

In conclusion,we now have information that Ashraff and his corrupt syndicate have been stealing public funds, Commerce Minister must tell his alleged friend Ashraff to pay back the money,we want to procure drugs.

OPINION:Commerce Minister Mancoba Khumalo must step down as health crisis Cabinet Select Committee Chairman,he is an alleged friend to SwaziPharm Director Kareem Ashraff.
Ministers from left: Finance Minister Neal Rijikernberg, Commerce Minister Mancoba Khumalo and Health Minister Mduduzi Matsebula.