A Year of Corruption: Wrapping Up 2021’s Biggest Scandals From Digital Vibes to PPE Tenders

A Year of Corruption: Wrapping Up 2021’s Biggest Scandals From Digital Vibes to PPE Tenders

  • Many corruption scandals happened in South Africa, including the Digital Vibes saga and a PPE tender scandal
  • The Digital Vibes scandal implicated Zweli Mkhize, who is the former Minister of Health, and gave out an R150 million contract to a company he has close relations with
  • A whistleblower in the PPE tender scandal, Babita Deokaran, was murdered by hitmen who were hired to silence her

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JOHANNESBURG - 2021 saw many corruption scandals take place in South Africa, including Digital Vibes and the murder of a PPE tender whistleblower. Briefly News has rounded up the biggest South African corruption scandals of the year.

One of the biggest corruption scandals in 2021 was the Digital Vibes saga. This scandal revealed that ex-health minister Zweli Mkhize awarded an R150 million communications contract to Digital Vibes. Mkhize allegedly has close relations with the company.

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The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) revealed that the former health minister could have possibly been part of criminal acts, which could have caused wasteful and irregular budgets.

Digital Vibes, tenders, corruption, South Africa, Babita Deokoran, PPE tender, scandal, 2021
The Digital Vibes saga and PPE tender scandal are only two of the corruption cases that rocked South Africa in 2021. Image: Twitter/ @Ukuhlola1 and @BPFreeSpeech
Source: Twitter

Ramaphosa releases the Digital Vibes report

After President Cyril Ramaphosa's permission, the highly-anticipated Digital Vibes report by the SIU was officially disclosed to the public of South Africa. The SIU investigated that an irregular tender contract that was awarded to Digital Vibes by the Department of Health officials.

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The contract was worth R150 million and it was found that the funds paid out to the fund was not spent on the scope of the work that should have been done by Digital Vibes. The money was rather used to fund the lavish lifestyles of Digital Vibes directors and former Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize and his family.

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The SIU report found that Dr Anban Pillay who is former acting director of the national Department of Health is criminally liable for financial misconduct. The investigation also concluded that Pillay used irregular procedures to award the Digital Vibes contract. In addition, he lied to the National Treasury to expedite the process of procuring the contract.

PPE Tender scandal and whistleblower's death

Babita Deokaran, who was set to be the Special Investigating Unit's witness in a PPE corruption scandal, was murdered in August. The police arrested 7 suspects in Johannesburg. Police recovered seven firearms and two vehicles that have been linked to the murder.

Director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Neeshan Balton, believes that the murderers waited for Deokaran outside her house. He stated that the killers planned a professional hit and even jammed the CCTV cameras in the area where she lived. It has been reported that prior to her death, Deokaran was threatened multiple times via text messages.

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R12m of R150m from Digital Vibes has been repaid, slow recovery from illegal beneficiaries

One of the suspects said that forced to make the confession that the former Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize was behind the murder of Deokaran. The suspect retracted his confession. The suspects are also facing attempted murder charges as well in relation to Deokaran's helper who was in the car with her.

South Africans react to corruption scandals

@christiandude66 said:

@jerryktsem asked:

"What has allowed corruption to set in?"

@JaiVictor1 believes:

"Our problem is not corruption, our problem is competence. Corruption flourishes in the absence of competence. Corruption is stifled when facing competence!"

@DaveThipe asked:

@HooterG shared:

"South Africa has a corruption pandemic."

Covid19 Relief Fund for Artists Allegedly Stolen by Government Officials

Minister Nathi Mthethwa of the Arts and Culture department said on Monday, 27 September, following the conclusion of a forensic investigation that about R300 million worth of funds from the presidential employment stimulus programme was missing.

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Mkhize says Health Department needs more money, Mzansi asks what's new?

The creation of employment and retention of work for those in the arts and culture sector who had their livelihoods affected by the Covid19 pandemic were meant to benefit from the stolen money. He gave the assurance that the five members of the National Arts Council implicated in the maladministration would be held accountable.

A cacophony of offences mounted against the council members including breaches of the Public Finance Management Act. A report by 702FM revealed that the minister said that three of the implicated members were no longer officials in the department while two remain employed.

Source: Briefly News

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