SIU probe into Digital Vibes tender on track
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THE Special Investigating Unit (SIU) says its investigators are hard at work to meet the deadline to hand President Cyril Ramaphosa a report on its investigations into the Health Department’s decision to award a R150 million tender to Digital Vibes.
Yesterday, SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said they would not comment on the progress of their investigations, but they were working hard to meet the June 30 deadline and hand over their findings to Ramaphosa.
Previously, Kganyago said: “We promised to complete our investigation by the end of this month, but we have to brief the president first especially about the Digital Vibes probe.”
“We will have to brief him if there are any referral for disciplinary action to be taken. If our investigation finds any wrongdoing in the award of the tender, we will then approach the Tribunal Court for the cancellation of the contract and the recovery of the money,” Kganyago said.
“If there is any criminality, we will then refer the matter to the Hawks and National Prosecuting Authority for prosecution.”
Digital Vibes was awarded a R150m contract for communications work. The deal had initially focused on the National Health Insurance scheme, but was expanded last year to include Covid-19 communication work. The company is owned by Mkhize’s former private assistant, Tahera Mathera, and his former spokesperson, Naardhira Mitha.
Recently, there have been revelations in the media about how Digital Vibes paid for maintenance work at the Mkhize’s “family property” north of Joburg and the alleged transfer of money into the account of the company of Dedani Mkhize (the minister’s son). It was also revealed that in May last year Digital Vibes transferred R160 000 to a Pietermaritzburg car dealership for a 2003 Toyota Land Cruiser.
According to the reports, the car was subsequently registered in Dedani Mkhize’s name. The car was also apparently used at a farm outside Pietermaritzburg that is owned by him.
All these revelations prompted DA health spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube to open a criminal case against Mkhize and the Health Department’s director-general, Dr Sandile Buthelezi.
Mkhize was due to appear before the ANC’s Integrity Commission to explain his alleged role in the awarding of the tender. Mkhize has denied any involvement, but admitted that Digital Vibes did pay for maintenance at his house. He said his family was of the view that such funds should be repaid.
Meanwhile, the ANC has confirmed that its staff audit was under way following a protest march by some of their employees about unpaid salaries.
The ANC’s general manager, Fébé Potgieter, said employees of the ruling party have been given until today to give Luthuli House their titles as the ruling party conducts a staff audit.
She said the process started in 2019, but was disrupted as a result of Covid-19.
“We are in the process, as per 54th conference resolutions, of reviewing the ANC administrative structures and policies, with a view to modernise and sustainability. This process started in 2019. Of course, Covid19 interrupted, resulting in new challenges as well as opportunities, especially the use of technology. The staff audit is part of that process, focusing on employees’ core skills, but also how remote work and use of technology have impacted on job descriptions, tools of trade, working conditions and hours, etc.”
Once the audit had been completed, Potgieter said it would allow for an aspect of informing the revised policies (for example, training and development, salary grading) and organograms.