“This remains important for the department of health as it is expected to continue implementing the government's plans and the strategy for our Covid-19 response. Because these allegations have raised public interest, we do commit that the outcomes of the investigation will accordingly be reported to the public,” said Mkhize.
He had told the house that the matter was first raised to him in January by director-general Dr Sandile Buthelezi, during a meeting over ongoing investigations in his department as a result of audit reports or whistle-blowers.
“In relation to the Digital Vibes, he advised that the auditor-general had raised specific findings of the deviations that were implemented and found them to be irregular. He informed me that he had resolved to investigate these matters further and to ensure that the department is not found wanting by having irregular tenders.”
At the time he supported Buthelezi's view and asked him to go ahead using an outside service provider because of a lack of capacity internally, he said.
“We very much support that as part of accountability and clean governance and ensuring compliance with the [Public Finance Management Act] and the Treasury regulations by the department,” said Mkhize.
“[Whether] the allegations of irregularities and non-compliance have been brought to our attention through an audit finding or whistle-blowing, the department must interrogate this.”