Cheryl Kahla
Deputy Online News Editor
2 minute read
29 Sep 2021
7:27 am

Cyril frees SIU report into health department’s deal with Digital Vibes

Cheryl Kahla

The SIU's report was finalised in June and handed to the president in July.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

President Ramaphosa has authorised the publication of the final Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report into the Department of Health’s communications contract with Digital Vibes.

The decision follows after the report was finalised in June and handed to Ramaphosa in July.

Digital Vibes investigation

Irregular spending

The SIU investigated a contract between the health department and Digital Vibes pertaining to a Covid-19 media campaign.

It was also alleged that senior health department officials, including Dr Zweli Mkhize, spent money irregularly.

Mkhize’s son benefited from the Digital Vibes contract. Dedani Mkhize and his wife, Sthoko, allegedly used more than R1 million to buy a nail-care franchise and hair salon.

Furthermore, one of the owners of Digital Vibes, Tahera Mather, used taxpayers’ money for a holiday, luxury fashion items and kitchen appliances.

NOW READ: How Mkhize’s aide splurged on Gucci, Smeg and a Turkey holiday

Opportunity to oppose publication

The Presidency on Wednesday said it “sent third-party notices to all persons or entities referred to in the report”.

This was done in order to provide them with an opportunity to object to the publication of the report.

This had to be done “in the interest of fairness and in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA)”, the Presidency said.

Read: SIU report

The SIU found that the evidence obtained with regards to alleged corruption pertaining to the health department’s Covid-19 media campaign “was irregular and the subsequent contracts were void”.

“Irregular expenditure amounting to approximately R150 million – and fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounting to approximately between R 72million and R80 million – was incurred by the NDOH”.

It was further noted that Digital Vibes misrepresented its tender and “failed to declare and pay company tax”. Digital Vibes also failed to pay the required VAT to the South African Revenue Service.

Moreover, the report states the health department spent “approximately R125 million in circumstances where a quotation of only R35 million for these services had been approved”.

The SIU said it is “indicative of a distinct lack of oversight on the part of [Minister Mkhize] in respect of the NDOH for which he is accountable”.

Additional reporting by Gareth Cotterell