Health dept suspends DG Sandile Buthelezi over alleged role in Digital Vibes saga

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Dr Sandile Buthelezi.
Dr Sandile Buthelezi.
  • The Department of Health has suspended Director-General Sandile Buthelezi over the Digital Vibes scandal.
  • The department's Foster Mohale said Buthelezi would now have to clear his name with the Special Investigating Unit.
  • Former health minister Zweli Mkhize was placed on special leave by the president over the matter and has since resigned.

The R150-million Digital Vibes scandal has claimed yet another health official, and this time it's the Director-General of the Department of Health Dr Sandile Buthelezi who has been suspended.

The department's Foster Mohale confirmed to News24 on Sunday that Buthelezi had been suspended over his alleged role in the Digital Vibes tender.

Dr Nicholas Crisp, Deputy Director General responsible for National Health Insurance, will continue to act until Buthelezi's hearing process has been concluded, the health department said.

In June, President Cyril Ramaphosa placed the health minister Zweli Mkhize on special leave so he could respond to allegations against him in the Digital vibes saga. Mkhize later resigned.

According to Mohale, when Buthelezi joined the department between May and June last year, he found that the contract had already been awarded. However, it continued while he was in charge, until the Special Investigating Unit's probe revealed that it had been unlawfully awarded.

READ | Digital vibes: Inside SIU's case against Mkhize - ignoring Cabinet resolutions, processes manipulated

It was alleged that the tender process had been set up to favour Digital Vibes.

"He (Buthelezi) was the accounting authority and what happened could have not happened without his knowledge. There is no timeframe to his suspension, it's now between him and the SIU to clear his name," said Mohale.

He added that it was not yet known when Buthelezi's suspension would be lifted, as that would be dependent on how the process went.

READ | 'Evidence pointing to criminal action' - SIU says Mkhize can still be charged for Digital Vibes saga

Last month, there were questions over whether Buthelezi had either been fired or suspended after Minister Joe Phaahla appointed the department's Deputy Director-General Dr Nicholas Crisp as acting director-general.

This was after Buthelezi had been fingered in the SIU's report on Digital Vibes.

However, Mohale said at the time Buthelezi had taken took a leave to deal with personal matters.

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