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Money wasted on Digital Vibes could have saved healthcare workers’ lives – Nehawu

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The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union says the millions were squandered on politically connected individuals despite healthcare workers dying because of a lack of adequate protection.

Former Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize File picture: GCIS

Pretoria – The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) says the huge amounts spent in the tainted R150 million Digital Vibes contract could have been used to acquire protective resources for healthcare workers battling the Covid-19 pandemic.

The union has welcomed the publication of the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) report on the investigation of the national Department of Health and the Digital Vibes contract.

“The publication of the report has explicitly detailed the degree of corruption, fraud, maladministration, mismanagement of public funds and elements of money laundering that took place as a result of the irregular awarding of the Digital Vibes contract by the national department of health,” said Nehawu general secretary Zola Saphetha.

“The report has revealed that the awarding of the contract resulted in irregular expenditure amounting to approximately R150 million and fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounting to approximately between R72 million and R80 million incurred by the national Department of Health.”

Saphetha said the millions were squandered on politically connected individuals despite healthcare workers dying because of a lack of adequate protection.

“As Nehawu, we find it repugnant that the department squandered millions of rand that could have been properly channelled towards ensuring that healthcare workers were provided with the necessary resources in their fight against Covid-19.

’’However, the department opted to waste millions for political-connected individuals whilst healthcare workers were succumbing to the pandemic as a result of the lack of proper and sufficient resources,” said Saphetha.

“This Digital Vibes contract scandal is a serious indictment against the national Department of Health and the government in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic and also the fight to combat corruption and promote good governance.”

Nehawu has called on the Department of Health and the government to “urgently implement” the recommendations of the SIU report which amongst others include instituting disciplinary action against the mentioned officials of the health department.

“Lastly, we call on the National Prosecuting Authority to institute criminal prosecutions for all those involved in the squandering of public funds as per the recommendations of the report,” said Saphetha.

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