Cape Town - Senior Health Department official Popo Maja has appeared in court after he was charged for corruption over Digital Vibes.
The scandal rocked the country almost two years ago.
Maja is alleged to have received bribes in relation to the tender and was part of the bid evaluation committee.
The Special Investigating Unit had found two years ago that the awarding of the tender was unlawful.
The tender for Digital Vibes was R140 million.
The contract was for a media and communication campaign for the National Health Insurance and Covid-19. The SIU had found in its report in 2021 that the tender was unlawfully awarded to Digital Vibes.
Maja had handed himself to the police and appeared in court on Wednesday.
Maja and other senior officials in the department were implicated in the awarding of the Digital Vibes tender.
He is the first official to be brought to court and charged.
Maja had been spokesperson for the department for years, but after a disciplinary hearing by the department he was axed from the position. He is currently the director of communications in the department.
Head of politics at Unisa Professor Dirk Kotze said this was a test case for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to determine if they will arrest more people if they successfully prosecute this case.
He said after the bungling of the Nulane case in the Free State they did not want to repeat the same mistake.
He added that the NPA would be much more cautious, but they will take it one case at a time.
But the Digital Vibes will be a test case for the NPA.
“It is possibly the first move. We might see more people arrested as a result of Digital Vibes. While these cases are not straightforward, cases after the bungle in the Nulane case in the Free State, they will be more cautious now.
“They will first deal with one case and see if they can win. What they are learning is that, don’t put everyone in one case and if you lose you lose everyone. This is almost a test case for them,” said Kotze.