One of the criticisms of South Africa’s battle against corruption is that no action is taken against the individuals implicated in corrupt activities.
The Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla says that disciplinary action is being taken against officials involved in the Digital Vibes scandal.
The Digital Vibes scandal relates to a communication tender issued by the health department. The R141 million communications contract was described by the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) as ‘fraudulent’ and ‘irregular’.
The report released by the SIU implicated former health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize as well as then Acting Health Director General, Dr Anban Pillay.
In response to the SIU’s report, the health department set up an investigation unit to compile a report and make recommendations on appropriate disciplinary action to Acting Director General Dr Nicholas Crisp. It is expected that this report will be given to Crisp on Monday.
Phaahla said, “by Monday the DG will receive the report and once that happens then they will indicate who they believe out of the seven. They have a very strong case [against] in terms of the information and what charges they will face”. He added that once the process is complete, the charge sheet will be sent to the implicated officials.
The health minister added that nothing indicated to him that new information will come to light after the investigation. He explained that the department's procurement of Covid-19 vaccines is audited weekly.
“To say that there might be other issues, that I don't know. It's possible, it might be a red flag which says keep looking, there might be other irregular procurements and so on which we must look around” conclude Phaahla.