The Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU’s) report on the Department of Health’s R150 million contract with Digital Vibes is still being assessed by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
This is due to additional information being provided to Ramaphosa by the SIU, who submitted the report to the Presidency last week Wednesday.
The Presidency, alongside the SIU, was scheduled to appear before Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday to give an update on the Digital Vibes report.
However, Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa revealed that while the SIU had availed itself for the briefing, the Presidency already sent an apology for its absence, adding that the Digital Vibes report would not be discussed in the process.
“The head of unit of the SIU sent me a correspondence, indicating that rising from our last meeting there was questions around the Digital Vibes investigation and report indicating that the report was handed over to the Presidency on the 30th of June.
“Then subsequent to that, additional information had to be provided to the president on the 2nd of July and so therefore, they are not in a position to engage on that matter until the flow of information has been completed.
“So I thought I should flag that. They are still processing information I suppose and findings and additional things that are required on that matter,” Hlengwa said.
According to a Sunday Times, the Digital Vibes report found Health Minister Zweli Mkhize allegedly pressured Department of Health officials to appoint the company which linked to his close associates, Tahera Mather and Naadhira Mitha.
Mkhize is on special leave pending the finalisation of the investigation into the Digital Vibes tender saga at the department.
The department initially contracted Digital Vibes for the National Health Insurance (NHI) campaign in 2019, which is when he reportedly pressured officials to appoint the agency for the R150 million communications contract.
The work was expanded to include communications on Covid-19. The controversial communications firm scored a cool R35 million before the department approved its work.
Both the tender and the bidding process contravened the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).
According to the SIU, of the R150 million paid to the company, R25 million went towards the NHI media campaign, while the remaining R125 million was paid for work on Covid-19 projects.
Meanwhile, the SIU has been granted an order to freeze R22 million in bank accounts linked to Digital Vibes.
Additional reporting by News24 Wire