Zweli Mkhize distances himself from R150m contract awarded to Digital Vibes

26 May 2021 - 09:07
By nomahlubi sonjica AND Nomahlubi Sonjica
Health minister Zweli Mkhize has distanced himself from a R150m contract awarded to Digital Vibes.
Image: ANTHONY MOLYNEAUX Health minister Zweli Mkhize has distanced himself from a R150m contract awarded to Digital Vibes.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize says he did not personally benefit from the R150m contract awarded to Digital Vibes.

“Let me categorically state that I have not personally benefited from the contract,” Mkhize said at a virtual media briefing on Wednesday.

In February, Daily Maverick broke the story about how Digital Vibes had been appointed in 2019 through a closed tender to provide communication services for the government’s National Health Insurance (NHI) rollout, with the scope of the work extended in March 2020 to include communications services regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mkhize said an investigation into the Digital Vibes contract had found that the department had been overcharged by the company.

“From the outset, I wish to publicly state that the outrage, anger, questions, comments, expression of disappointment and disgust by members of the public, with what has been reported in the media regarding this Digital Vibes contract, is well justified.

“It is the very same red flags that were highlighted by the auditor-general in December that made me request the director-general to, not just hand over this investigation to internal audit, but to urgently appoint a firm of investigators who would have the necessary capacity and independence to scrutinise all the documents related to this contract.

“Though the AG had raised the issue of possible overcharging by Digital Vibes, in my discussion with the director-general, I suggested that we use the opportunity to interrogate the awarding of the contract, the changing of scope of NHI to Covid-19 and whether the department did receive value for money,” Mkhize said.

He said the department was co-operating with the Special Investigating Unit.