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PODCAST | The Story: Report into Digital Vibes scandal finally released by President Ramaphosa

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU)'s damning report into the R150 million Digital Vibes saga was finally authorised for release by president Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday this week.


The Special Investigating Unit (SIU)’s damning report into the R150 million Digital Vibes saga was finally authorised for release by president Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday this week.

  • On Wednesday, the president finally authorised the release of the Special Investigating Unit’s report into the controversial Digital Vibes tender with the Department of Health.
  • The report pinpointed key figures involved in the saga and in some cases suggested criminal charges be laid.
  • Seven officials from the department were named for their misconduct and subsequently handed letters of suspension.

This week on The Story, we take a look at the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) damning report into the R150 million Digital Vibes saga. 

The Department of Health initially contracted Digital Vibes for the National Health Insurance (NHI) campaign in 2019, which was when former health minister Zweli Mkhize reportedly pressured officials to appoint the company for the contract.

Their work was expanded to include communications on Covid-19 and the firm scored R35 million before the department approved its work.

President Cyril Ramaphosa received the report from investigators in July and despite promising to make it public, didn’t sanction its release until Wednesday. 

READ | Digital Vibes: Health department officials who jumped ship not off the hook

The 114-page report details fraud and irregularities, how Digital Vibes was unlawfully awarded the R150 million communications contract, with the tender process reportedly set-up to favour the company. The controversial tender led to Mkhize’s resignation before the Cabinet reshuffle in August.

Altogether, seven officials from the department were fingered in the misconduct and served with letters of suspension.

According to the SIU, evidence obtained indicates that Anban Pillay, the department’s former acting director-general during the Covid-19 media campaign, should be criminally prosecuted for financial misconduct.

News24 parliamentary reporter Jason Felix gives us a breakdown on the latests happenings in the saga, since the release of the report while Pieter du Toit, News24 assistant editor for in-depth news, helps us make sense of what this means for South Africa and the country at large.


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