- Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize now finds himself at the centre of the Digital Vibes scandal, according to reports
- It is alleged that Mkhize pressurised officials within the Department of Health to contract Digital Vibes
- The Special Investigating Unit will present its findings on Digital Vibes to President Cyril Ramaphosa this week
A Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigation into the R150 million Digital Vibes contract shows that Health Minister Zweli Mkhize allegedly pressured officials within the ministry to contract the company tied to his close associates. Sunday Times broke the news on Sunday.
In 2019, the Department of Health initially hired Digital Vibes for the National Health Insurance (NHI) campaign, and this is when Mkhize allegedly pressured officials to choose Digital Vibes for the R150 million communications contract.
According to IOL, it has been alleged that after receiving payment from the department for the tender deal, Digital Vibes funded an electrical installation project at Mkhize's residence in Johannesburg and purchased a vehicle for Mkhize's son, Dedani.
Mkhize admitted that the R150 million deal was irregular before taking special leave. He maintained that he had received no personal gain from the contract and that he did not declare a conflict of interest because he did not feel there was one.
The SIU obtained an order last Wednesday to freeze R22 million in the accounts of Digital Vibes while investigations continue.
SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the Special Tribunal order prohibits those implicated in the Digital Vibes scandal from handling the money in the relevant bank accounts and investment accounts in any way.
The SIU's findings will be handed over to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday this week, according to IOL.
Zweli Mkhize: Report shows that Digital Vibes paid for work at Mkhize's home
Briefly News previously reported that a report released by the Daily Maverick showed that the company Digital Vibes carried out work at a property owned by Mkhize.
The property is owned by Mkhize's family trust. Digital Vibes won tenders worth R150 million from the Department of Health.
The Daily Maverick's investigative unit, Scorpio, discovered that the company allegedly paid for maintenance work on the property owned by Mkhize's family trust but also allegedly transferred R300 000 to Mkhize's son.
The R150 million contract was found to be irregular in May 2020.
May Mkhize, the Health Minister's wife, said she had no knowledge of the payment made for maintenance work. She is one of the trustees of the property in question. Digital Vibes reportedly made two payments of almost R7 000 for electrical work carried out by a contractor.
Digital Vibes scored the massive contract which was linked to the National Health Insurance (NHI) programme as well as for work related to the government's response to Covid-19, something the government could have done without Digital Vibes' assistance, according to News24.
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