Siyanda Ndlovu
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
26 May 2021
8:38 am

Millions paid to Digital Vibes were ‘fruitless’, ‘wasteful’

Siyanda Ndlovu

Investigators found that appointment of Digital Vibes of R150 million was irregular, due to the lack of disclosure of conflict of interest.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize. Picture: Twitter

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced that an internal forensic has uncovered that the contracts awarded to Digital Vibes were irregular.

Mkhize said the internal forensic report had been completed and handed to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday.

This follows allegations of irregularities in the procurement of services by the Department of Health to the communications company.

“In summary, the investigation has found the that the tender / bidding process followed was in contravention of the Public Finance Management Act” (PFMA), said Mkhize.

He said investigators found that “the appointment of Digital Vibes of R150 million in 2019 and 2020 was irregular, due to the lack of disclosure of conflict of interest”.

ALSO READ: Outcomes of R82m Digital Vibes tender probe to be made public, says Mkhize

“The process of appointing Digital Vibes was irregular. The irregularity findings range from the inconsistencies in the bid committees, to lack of disclosure of conflict of interest.

“The investigators have found that an amount of some R37 million paid to Digital Vibes constitutes fruitless and wasteful expenditure.”

He said that the investigators noted that the service provider received requests for work from DoH prior to their contract being expanded to include Covid-19 communication.

“These requests resulted in a financial commitment of some R35 million that DoH ended up paying after the expansion was approved.

“The investigators therefore concluded that any amount which was paid to Digital Vibes for any work done in relation to Covid-19 communication prior to the approval of the expansion to include Covid-19 work was irregular as the expenditure was incurred in contravention of treasury regulations,” Mkhize said.

Mkhize said that the department’s director-general has already reported investigators’ conclusions of irregular expenditure to the Treasury and that actions against those implicated are under way.

He announced that legal action is under way to retrieve the money awarded to the communication company in 2020 and 2021.

ALSO READ: Covid-19 corruption probe ‘involving Mkhize’s friends at an advanced stage’

He said that he did not benefit from the contract.

On Tuesday, Special Investigating Unit (SIU) head Andy Mothibi indicated that the investigations regarding the contracts were already under way.

“But of course, the allegations go further, as we indicate that some officials in the department, you now, facilitated the process.

“The allegations as we’ve said is that the minister may have been involved in the process… those are the allegations and the investigation is under way.

“We are at a place where we can say that we are at an advanced stage and the investigating team has pointed to some of the findings as we speak.”