The Department of Health has confirmed that the Deputy Director-General responsible for Health Regulations and Compliance, Dr Anban Pillay, will be among those receiving a suspension letter on Thursday.

Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla says action is being taken against seven department employees in total – who were implicated in the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report into the Digital Vibes saga.

The SIU’s report into the COVID-19 communication contract has revealed damning findings against former health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, his family and close associates.

The company, owned by Mkhize’s associates, was awarded R150 million to provide COVID-19 related communication services last year.

Phaahla was speaking during a media briefing in Pretoria.

“We have noted that there are serious allegations against a number of departmental senior officials, notably that of our deputy director general responsible for health regulations and compliance Dr Anban Pillay.”

“There are six officials that the acting DG has to take steps against. By the close of business today, all affected six officials in the department of health would have been served with suspension letters. Dr Buthelezi has already been put on suspension,” he explains.

Health Ministry responds to SIU report findings and recommendations:

NPA urged to act swiftly

Meanwhile, the GOOD party has welcomed the release of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report into the Digital Vibes Communications Contract with the Department of Health, and encourages the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to act swiftly against those implicated in the report.

In August, Dedani Mkhize, son of the former Health Minister, complained that the unit should have served him with papers before it went to the Special Tribunal.

According to documents the SIU filed at the Special Tribunal, Mkhize repeatedly met with Digital Vibes Director Radha Hariram at a fuel station in Stanger in KwaZulu-Natal, where he allegedly collected cash directly linked to the department’s contract.

Act on SIU recommendations: Ramaphosa

On Wednesday, the Presidency called on government departments and state institutions to act on the recommendations made by the SIU report.

Acting Presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale says, “I think what we expect is to see departments and institutions act on the referrals made by the SIU in all the places they have referred to. So it will be the case that people may still be in a position in the administration.”

“But this report contains referrals by the SIU of actions that should be taken against people with substantial evidence. So, I think our expectations are that all departments will look at this report, the referrals and act on what the SIU is recommending,” says Seale.

Presidential report: