The Department of Health has denied that any officials have been suspended over the Digitals Vibes tender saga.
Over the weekend, Sunday World reported that four officials had been placed on precautionary suspension by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize for their role in the Digital Vibes saga.
Those suspended, the paper reported, included Dr Anban Pillay, the department’s deputy director-general for health regulations and compliance management, and Popo Maja, chief director for communications and stakeholder management.
They were allegedly suspended after a report by the Ngubane Management Company implicated them in irregularities in the awarding of a R150 million communications tender to Mkhize’s associates – Digital Vibes, Mkhize’s former aide Tahera Mather, and his former personal assistant Naadhira Mitha.
On Sunday, health department Director-General Sandile Buthelezi denied the suspensions and said Mkhize didn’t get involved in the department’s administrative functions.
“As indicated on previous occasions, the Director-General, as the accounting officer of the department, is dealing with all investigations relating to the Digital Vibes matter working with the Special Investigation Unit.
“The Director-General is also working on the implementation of the recommendations from investigations.”
Buthelezi said investigations were ongoing, and that the department could not mention people implicated, so as not to hamper the outcome.
The Daily Maverick has reported how Digital Vibes has paid for maintenance invoices for a property owned by Mkhize and his family in Bryanston. They also reported how Digital Vibes paid about R300 000 into a company owned by the Mkhize’s son Dedani in 2020.
On Friday, Mkhize was supposed to appear before Parliament. However, he did not appear and said he had received legal advice not to do so.
Opposition parties are also calling for his resignation, and the Democratic Alliance has laid criminal charges against him.