SIU probing Digital Vibes linked to Mkhize associates and two other companies
The Department of Health says that apart from KwaZulu-Natal-based Digital Vibes there are two other companies whose contracts are under investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
Health Department Director General Dr Sandile Buthelezi told the parliamentary portfolio committee on health earlier on Friday that communications company Digital Vibes was not the only company whose contract details the department had shared with the SIU.
Digital Vibes had been contracted by the department in late 2019 to provide communications for the National Health Insurance (NHI) rollout before this was extended to include communication on Covid-19 in March 2020.
Digital Vibes came to the fore after it emerged that two associates linked to Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, his long-time spokesperson, Tahera Mathera, and his former private assistant secretary, had received payments as consultants for Digital Vibes despite not being registered as directors of the company.
Buthelezi said that there had been a number of contracts, including Digital Vibes, that had been flagged by the auditor-general’s office that they had commissioned investigations into.
Media reports claimed that the company had received R82 million in orders for Covid-19-related work while the company had also allegedly scored a Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs contract at the time when Mkhize was the minister in charge of the department.
In a presentation to Parliament’s health portfolio committee, Buthelezi said that they had linked the SIU with the auditing firm that was dealing with the Digital Vibes issues, adding that he had been in constant communication with the auditing firm which was now working with the SIU.
“We do not want to pre-empt that investigation and we will at the right time, when the SIU in conjunction with the forensic auditing firm have finalised the work, make the issues public together with the other contracts,” Buthelezi said.