By Kaya 959 Reporter
Dr Sandile Buthelezi, Director-General at the Department of Health, has been placed on precautionary suspension.
“The Ministry of Health confirms that Dr Sandile Buthelezi, has been placed on precautionary suspension until he appears before a disciplinary hearing regarding his role in the Digital Vibes saga,” said Health Ministry spokesperson Foster Mohale.
An investigation was launched after it was revealed that Digital Vibes had been granted a tender to supply communications and media services for the DoH.
It was further established that it was run by friends of former Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize.
The company was awarded a R150 million tender for services linked to the National Health Insurance and later the roll-out of communications around COVID-19.
At least R90m of the R150m was funneled to entities set up by both women to business and personal accounts of some of Mather’s immediate family. Funds were also channeled to suspicious third parties.
Mkhize was placed on special leave by President Cyril Ramaphosa pending the outcome of the investigation. Mkhize later resigned.
SIU referrals being acted upon
According to News24, the contract had already been awarded to Digital Vibes by the time Buthelezi joined the department.
The report claimed that Digital Vibes continued to carry out work while Buthelezi was in charge until a probe by the Special Investigating Unit found that the tender had been unlawfully awarded.
An official told News24 that Buthelezi was the accounting authority and whatever happened could not have happened without his knowledge.
It is unclear when Buthelezi’s suspension would be lifted.
Meanwhile, Dr Nicholas Crisp, Deputy Director-General responsible for National Health Insurance, will continue to act until the hearing process has been concluded.
Earlier this month, the Presidency said Ramaphosa is processing the SIU report.
It said the third-party notices have been issued to all people to entities mentioned in the report so they can object to the publication of their role.
The Presidency said the SIU also made a number of referrals regarding specific individuals for disciplinary action.
“These referrals are being acted upon,” it added.