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Six department of health employees to be suspended over Digital Vibes saga

30 September 2021, 12:30 PM  |  SABC  | 

Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, has announced that action is being taken against six more employees in the Department of Health who were implicated in the Special Investigating Unit report into the Digital Vibes saga.

The SIU report into the multimillion rand Digital Vibes 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.

Speaking during a media briefing in Pretoria, Phaahla says six people will receive letters of suspension, with the Director General of Health, Dr Sandile Buthelezi, being the seventh to have already been placed on precautionary suspension.

“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 6 officials that the acting DG has to take steps against. By the close of business today, all affected 6 officials in the department of health would have been served with suspension letters. Dr Buthelezi has already been put on suspension.”

Health Ministry responds to SIU report findings and recommendations

Ramaphosa releases SIU report into Digital Vibes contract:

President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the publication of the final report into the Digital Vibes matter earlier this week.

The company, owned by Tahera Mather and Naadhira Mitha, was awarded R150 million to provide communication during the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

The 114-page report details how a R150 million communications contract was unlawfully awarded with the tender process having reportedly been set up to favour Digital Vibes.

The report shows that service fees for COVID-19 communications were highly inflated.

The report has also named Department of Health officials including Anban Pillay and Precious Matsoso.

In June, Ramaphosa placed Mkhize on special leave.

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

This was after it emerged that he allegedly collected boxes and parcels stuffed with cash from one of the key figures in the corruption saga involving Digital Vibes.

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.

Presidential report:

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