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SIU strikes at Digital Vibes corruption scandal

Mkhize continues to deny that he and his family benefitted.
If found guilty, former health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and his corrupt medical cadres will have ripped apart the Hippocratic Oath says the author. Image: GCIS

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) “is poised to strike against corruption” – and so far is hitting its target.

The Digital Vibes report prepared by the SIU and submitted to President Cyril Ramaphosa on July 23 has been publicly released and can be viewed here.

The SIU launched its investigation into Digital Vibes and former minister of health Dr Zweli Mkhize after receiving allegations from a whistleblower regarding potential irregularities in the award by the National Department of Health (NDOH) of the National Health Insurance (NHI) and Covid-19 media campaigns.

Read:

Findings

The SIU found that the procurement processes in respect of the NHI and Covid-19 media campaigns were irregular and the subsequent contracts are void. This resulted in irregular expenditure amounting to approximately R150 million, and fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounting to approximately R80 million, having been incurred by the NDOH.

The SIU has obtained evidence to support its contentions that:

  • Mkhize improperly and possibly unlawfully gave instructions to the then director-general (DG) of the NDOH Precious Matsoso to appoint Tahera Mather as a “communication expert consultant for the NDOH in respect of the envisaged NHI media campaign”. The minister sent repeated WhatsApp messages to the DG. This “an interference by the Executive Authority in the affairs of the administrative authority of the NDOH”.
  • Digital Vibes was appointed on November 29, 2019, and then “’appointed’ Mather and [her niece Naadhira] Mitha as purported contractors for purposes of the NHI media campaign”.
  • Mkhize approved a R46 million media campaign 52 days after the service level agreement (SLA) between the NDOH and Digital Vibes had been signed, and approved another R85 million six months after the SLA had been signed.
  • It “can be argued that the Minister deliberately ignored a Cabinet decision (of which he formed part of)”, in appointing Digital Vibes.
  • Dr Anban Pillay, acting DG of the NDOH, should be prosecuted for financial misconduct. Evidence also indicates that he committed fraud in making “numerous material intentional misrepresentations to the National Treasury”, among others.
  • “Ms Mather and Ms Mitha committed fraud in that they held out to the NDOH that Digital Vibes was tendering for the NHI media campaign contract, whereas in fact, Ms Mather and Ms Mitha used Digital Vibes as a front” to hide the fact that they were behind it.
  • “Digital Vibes (‘owned’ by Radha Hariram) and Hariram (in her personal capacity) committed fraud” in that Digital Vibes was a front for Mather and Mitha.
  • Digital Vibes, Hariram, Mather and Mitha contravened the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca) money laundering provisions.
  • “Digital Vibes failed to declare and pay company tax and failed to pay the required VAT to the South African Revenue Service”.
  • Digital Vibes “paid an amount of R6 720 for repairs at a property belonging to the Minister”; “transferred R300 000 … to a company belonging to the Minister’s son [Dedani Mkhize]”; purchased a second-hand motor vehicle for R160 000 for the Minister’s son; and via electronic transfers to conduit parties paid “significant amounts of cash” to the Minister’s son. Hariram would collect “boxes of cash from a person” and the Minister’s son “would collect boxes [of cash] from her”.
  • Evidence obtained supports “the referral thereof to the President for purposes of taking executive action against the Minister”, and “the institution of disciplinary action against officials in the NDOH” – namely Pillay, Popo Maja (head of communications), Shireen Pardesi (chief of staff), Dr Sandile Buthelezi (recently suspended DG), Senzeni Ngubane (member of the technical evaluation committee or TEC), Khubane Ngobese (clerk in the department and personal assistant to Pardesi), Reginald Ngcobo (TEC member) and Ian van Der Merwe (CFO). The SIU report itemises all the irregularities/offences/misdemeanours committed by these officials. The executive action against Mkhize is now moot, as he has resigned.

Digital Vibes should be “blacklisted from conducting business with the public sector”.

Mather and Mitha refused to answer questions

Mather and Mitha were subpoenaed under the SIU Act “to be questioned regarding their involvement in the NHI and Covid-19 media campaign related matters”.

Their legal representative said they “would refuse to answer any questions, based on their Constitutional right against self-incrimination”.

The lawyer also indicated that Mather and Mitha intended to challenge the constitutionality of Section 5(2)(b)&(c) of the SIU Act in the high court

However, they have since “indicated that they would now be prepared to be questioned”.

Limitations

The SIU does caution that the report “is based on facts established from documentation that was provided and/or information that was obtained during the course of the investigation”, and it cannot guarantee that it has been provided with all relevant information and/or has had sights of all relevant documentation that may be in existence; and/or any statements or information and/or the contents of any documentation at its disposal, is/are true and correct”.

And now? Now we wait …

The SIU contends that Mkhize’s denial that he and his family had benefitted from the Digital Vibes contract at a press briefing held on May 26, 2021 is “untrue”, “as the minister’s son and the minister himself (via property belonging to him) “had directly benefitted from Digital Vibes, who in turn had benefitted from the NDOH contracts”.

Citizens will now have to wait for the judicial process to play out. The investigation into criminal liability is ongoing.

Corruption during a pandemic and stealing money that should have been used to save lives is abominable. That members of the medical profession allegedly took part is incomprehensible. If found guilty, Mkhize and his corrupt medical cadres have ripped apart the Hippocratic Oath.

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So R80 m + R150m were lost in the Digital Vibes scandal. That’s a big amount.

But what about the R185 BILLION lost in the Steinhoff scandal? When will Marcus Jooste have to account for his actions. It’s been almost 4 years.

When will Stellenbosch pensioner Christo Wiese get justice. He went from a billionaire to just another millionaire. Poor Christo. It breaks my heart.

All the while, Marcus Jooste is in a beach house in Hermanus, a free man!

1. We did not vote for Marcus Jooste and Steinhoff.

2. There is no clear evidence of nepotism in the case of Steinhoff.

3. Mkhize took an oath to uphold the Constitution of South Africa when he entered office.

You act like a corrupt ANC cadre, deployed to sow propoganda.

Two wrongs do not make a right.

LOL whataboutism is the main distraction employed by the apologists of corruption. But for what it’s worth, Jooste is a criminal and belongs behind bars. However, his corruption was not funded by my hard earned tax money which I have to pay over on pain of jail; neither is he a public representative of an organisation that pretends to have the interest of the poor at heart. Any way you look at it, corruption by those in government is worse than private sector corruption, and government corruption is a core part of the ANC and EFF’s existence.

Yes, however his corruption did negatively affect our investments (Unit Trusts, Pension etc), because almost every collective investment fund invested in Steinhoff.

If you want to play “what about” then what about VBS /EFF ??
What about you find another platform to dispose of your EFFluent.

We all want Jooste behind bars. The problem is finding someone as smart as him to figure out what he did so he can be tried successfully in Court.

I believe it will not end well for him.

EFF, you really are something else. We all want Markus Jooste locked up but the ANC destroyed justice system will see to it that he remains free.

EFF C is a bot and trying to stir up controversy, just ignore

its a good thing actually…

we can see how they think… their logic

we got someone to challenge…. bring out all the facts that he/she overlooks.

help them fill in the gaps

I’m already missing “Bloemfontein big exec”

Lol… Remember “Robert from Sydney”.. A few years back. Man, was he an unpopular fellow… Similar!!

And Bib/Bibby/Aonk.

The law must follow its course and not take a hundred years else it serves no purpose.

If you steal then your assets must be taken away wherever they are and you must go to jail.

The VBS Bank scandal is very conveniently been put on the shelve too.

Your logic seems problematic.

Steinhoff is at the courts I recall.

ANC crooks/rioters still roaming the streets.

So R80 m + R150m were lost in the Digital Vibes scandal. That’s a big amount.

But what about the R185 BILLION lost in the Steinhoff scandal? When will Marcus Jooste have to account for his actions. It’s been almost 4 years.

When will Stellenbosch pensioner Christo Wiese get justice. He went from a billionaire to just another millionaire. Poor Christo. It breaks my heart.

All the while, Marcus Jooste is in a beach house in Hermanus, a free man!

Perhaps this upstanding citizen will be #1. The first criminal in Govt. to achieve incarceration status. Real incarceration that is. Just maybe …

Dr Zweli Mkhize is guilty and was the mastermind – everyone knows this. Also why is the Deputy Director General (Mr Pillay) still going to work every day – probably to ensure his tracks are covered – Come ON Mr President, you are constantly stewing on about corruption, yet these guys have not yet been arrested – Or are they also going to be suspended with full pay for the next 5 years????

What about Ian van Der Merwe (CFO)? As a CFO he had a fiduciary responsibility, which he failed to carry out.

Why is no one in jail???
Oh ja they belong to the ANC
(Almighty National Criminals)

So who should lay the criminal charges?????

Was Cyril not the guy that sat on the report for 2 months??

Why?? Trying to help his comrades cover their tracks??

Should he not be the man that lay the charges at the police IMMEDIATELY??

He is the one supposedly keen on dealing with corruption.

WELL HE IS NOT!! IT IS OBVIOUS HE IS FACILITATING IT AND ASSISTING HIS CRIMINAL COMRADES TO COVER THEIR TRACKS.

Jooste will never see a jail. He has more money than the government to hire an army of lawyers and can defer matters forever.
Unless he gets extradited to Germany somehow…They won’t play around.

Watch this space, already an Indian fellow has been focused on. He will take the fall for Mkize as did Shaik for Zuma.

The ANC protection machine is running full throttle.

Mkize will emerge from the haze and get some top government job, most likely Vice Pres as the Russian steps aside having smoothed the nuclear deal for the cadres.

There are a number of “doctors” (presumably medical) employed in the NDOH who have been implicated in this criminal scandal; I wonder if the relevant regulatory and/or professional body will expedite an investigation into their alleged unprofessional/unethical/criminal conduct and hold hearings, and revoke their membership of the said regulatory/professional body if found guilty?

Or will we see the same sickening “heads-in-the-sand” approach of other professional bodies (like SAICA, etc.), where their members have been accused of action linked to State Capture…?

Steinhoff R 185 billion, Billions from the Guptas, approximately R 10 000 billion in capital and R 5 billion in income lost by 50 000 investors in the Pickvest, Sharemax and other property syndications and not a word from the CIPC or SARS to act on this criminal activity. Only the well paid advocates and business rescue practitioners are collecting and enriching themselves over the past 10 years to defend the criminals involved.

Even the most ethical and intelligent individuals in the ANC structures are corrupt to the bone. Those who have been trained to understand the value of ethics and moral standards, abuse their positions of trust to exploit the public resources for personal gain.

It must, therefore, be a cultural phenomena. We should realise that the concept of corruption actually depends on the concept of rule of law, which in turn, depends on property rights.

Property rights brings with it, the concepts of accountability, individualism, responsibility, frugality, and a forward-looking and planning mentality. In short, property ownership is about preparing for the future.

The collectivist or communalist mindset does not cater for the ideas of accountability, individualism, rule of law and private ownership of the means of production. How can you commit a crime if you take something that does not belong to anyone? How can it be corruption if your cattle graze on the communal land? How can it be corruption if I take money from the communal purse? Communalists do not have an understanding of the future. They live in the past and they identify with things that happened in the past. That is why Jan van Riebeeck is an important man to them, while we have forgotten him. They stay with colonialism and identify with it, while we have moved on to embrace a shared future.

The ANC is a group of communalists. We call them socialists. They are not bad people. Everyone cannot be bad, while everyone steals public money. They are merely living their culture and expressing their mindset.

We are the ones who do not understand because we are looking through the glasses of property rights and accountability. Everything will make perfect sense once we put on the collectivist glasses. The ANC selects for corruption, anables corruption and rewards corruption.

The capitalist system, the sustainability of tax generation, and the system of social grants and services to the poor cannot withstand corruption. They plunder their own communal resources and consume their future like they have been doing for thousands of years. Adapt or die.

Why should Anban Pillay be criminally prosecuted, but for Mkhize the SIU recommends “executive action” by the president?

The benefits that Mkhize and his family received from the minister’s irregular appointment of his buddies amount to straightforward corruption.

The charges against Pillay relate to contraventions of the PMFA. (No one has ever been found guilty of such crimes since the commencement of the Act.)

We are also led to believe that Pillay committed these contraventions, of his own volition, for no reason whatsoever.

Why then?

Answer: so that the NPA has an excuse not to prosecute Mkhize.

Yes.

Great for the SIU to do the investigation. That’s there job.

Is it their job to decide who should get prosecuted? No I don’t think so.

It’s like getting a cop to sentence a criminal??

The fact that they are going to find reasons to protect their own is blatantly obvious and started with Cyril sitting on the report for 2 months buying time for his corrupt compatriots.

The whole lot are crooks. No need to be selective!

Pillay like Shaik will be the fall guy.

Zweli Mkhize illustrates once more how utterly useless some of South Africa’s ‘journalists’ are. On May 27th Anthony Butler from BusinessLive was singing praises for Mkhize, calling the Digital Vibes fraud a ” Storm in a teacup”. He conveniently failed to mention any of the numerous past scandals involving Mkhize. If you look at Mkhize’s history a pattern of impropriety is very evident. Yet Butler ignored all of that past history when writing a fluff piece to boost the whole convid narrative about what stirling and selfless work Mkhize was doing under immense pressure to save South Africa from the Virus. These scribes have made a habit of overlooking any facts that may interfere with the Narrative they are pushing.

A cursory search brought up these articles that I have pasted below:

2008 – When Mkhize was KZN MEC for finance he was alleged to have been involved in a loan scandal involving his wife, Dr May Mashego. Mkhize held various political offices (KZN ANC Chairperson and KZN Premier) while these loans were being disbursed. One of the loans involved a KZN businessman Protus Sokhela who secured a three-year R10.9m property lease with the provincial Treasury (Mkhize was KZN MEC for finance). Payments of R1 million each were made to a company of which Dr Mashego is the sole director. He denied any wrongdoing.

Lawyers demand R4.5m ‘fee’ for Luthuli House deal by Zweli Mkhize
Former ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize has been drawn into a legal scrap over an alleged R4.5-million kickback for helping an oil company get a huge loan from the Public Investment Corporation. A Johannesburg law firm has named Mkhize in a legal claim against Afric Oil,

Businessman explains donations to ANC leaders including Zweli Mkhize (R6.5m) & Paul Mashatile (R371,000)
The US authority charged that Hitachi paid Chancellor House a “success fee” – a term often used as a euphemism for a bribe – of $1-million plus $5-million in connection with contracts to build the Medupi and Kusile power stations.
It claims that at a meeting at Luthuli House “sometime in early June 2016” a loan application to the PIC “was extensively discussed and the TG agreed to promote Afric Oil’s projects, including providing support for the facilitation of the PIC loan”.
It says a “fund-raising fee shall be shared amongst them”, with R4.5-million going to Mkhize. The loan was for R210-million.

DA opens charges Zweli Mkhize over ‘VBS kickbacks’

Durban – The DA has laid criminal charges against Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Zweli Mkhize, following reports that he had allegedly siphoned a R2 million ‘donation’ from Vele Investments in 2016 during his tenure as ANC treasurer-general. According to reports, the money was in return for his help in raising funds from municipalities and state institutions

Isn’t it standard practice for all Corrupt ANC cadres to deny everything? Isn’t it standard practice for all Corrupt ANC cadres to say one thing then do the opposite?
We mustn’t be surprised.
The bottom line is that these cadres may get arrested followed by five, six, seven year trials (whilst out on US$1000 bail). Then there will be a host interdicts, conspiracy theories, appeals, representations, rescission applications, SCA appeals, ConCourt appeals, reviews, etc. If/when all else fails, medical paroles will be in order.
Any 10 year sentence will be an effective three months!!
Such is our “criminal justice system”.

You are so correct : The Zuma get out of jail (or in never into it )free card is the last straw : There is no justice system so as you can’t beat them then join them .
I will no longer pay TV licences ,any traffic fines and as much else which is govt related as I can.

End of comments.

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