Several parties in Parliament have welcomed the precautionary suspension of Health Director-General, Doctor Sandile Buthelezi. This is over his alleged involvement in the R150 million Digital Vibes scandal.
A probe by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has revealed that the contract was unlawfully awarded. It is alleged that the tender process had been set up to favour the communications company.
Some members of the Health Committee have repeatedly called for the report by the SIU on what exactly transpired around the awarding of the multi-million rand contract to Digital Vibes.
It has been on the President’s desk since the end of June.
Former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has also been implicated in the scandal:
Democratic Alliance (DA) Member of Parliament, Siviwe Gwarube says this suspension again shows the importance of the release of the report.
“The theft of public money can’t be dealt with behind closed doors. Those who are found guilty of corruption need to be held accountable. This is why also the SIU report on president’s desk is that much more critical to be made public to get an idea of the scale of the problem, who is made to be accountable and when.”
Freedom Front Plus’ Philip van Staden says, “The president must release the SIU report with immediate effect. We have to rely on media reports to see who gets sacked. The president must release the report at least to the portfolio committee .”
African Christian Democratic Party’s Member of Parliament, Marie Sukers, says Buthelezi’s suspension will be another blow to the country’s fight against COVID-19.
“The department cannot pretend the suspension of the DG and the resignation of the previous minister, in disgrace, will not disrupt the fight against COVID-19. If we can do without the DG in the worst in 100 years, why were taxpayers paying him in the first place? We deserve better leadership. We have called for radical, structural reform for procurement. The previous minister ignored that and now, we know why. We cannot afford more senior staff in suspension.”
ANC MP, Tshilidzi Monyai, says the suspension will provide an opportunity for the DG to clear his name.
“This suspension is welcomed because he can use the opportunity to clear his name; another reason is, he can account for the allegation of corruption by SIU, critical issues for ANC, we are against corruption and malfeasance.”
Chairperson of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, says the suspension is a sign that consequence management is finally being implemented in the public service.
“It gives strength to the agenda of consequence management that has been lacking in the public service. We, therefore, hope the will move with speed to bring about DC to logical, legal conclusion. to bring stability as it endevours to meet the demands of the sector.”