Digital Vibes money must be recouped

Issued by Michele Clarke MP – DA Shadow Minister of Health
22 Jul 2022 in News

Please find an attached soundbite by Michele Clarke MP.

The DA is calling on the Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, to ensure his Department recoups every cent of misappropriated Digital Vibes money and prioritise spending it on critical upgrades in the health sector.

This after Dr Anban Pillay, Popo Maja and Shireen Pardesi received mere slaps on the wrists for their involvement in the irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R152 million.

Despite evidence from the SIU Report and 4 charges laid against him, Dr Pillay’s only repercussion is a final written warning valid for 15 months, suspension without pay for three months, and a salary level demotion for 12 months. Similarly, Maja received a final written warning and a salary level demotion for 12 months. Pardesi escaped without any punishment after she was allowed to resign with immediate effect. We are sure that Pardesi will even land nicely on her feet after her resignation. ANC cadres tend to flourish when they’re recycled into other jobs.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) Report recommended that Dr Pillay be criminally prosecuted, and the DA will follow-up with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Department of Health to find out if a charge had been laid. If it has not yet been done, we will open a case against him.

Many South Africans have suffered desperately during the Covid-19 pandemic. Thousands have died, even more were terribly ill and still suffer the after-effects of infection, while millions have lost their jobs and homes. However, the people tasked with ensuring that South Africans receive proper education and information regarding the Coronavirus to keep them safe, suffered almost no consequences for their part in the maladministration of millions of rands.

Minister Phaahla must ensure that justice is served at the very least in terms of recuperating the money and ensuring that this time there is no malfeasance.

What happened with Digital Vibes is surely a blueprint of what will happen when the ANC bulldozes its National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill through Parliament. It’s certainly what has happened at all other State-owned entities (SOEs) – Eskom, PRASA, Transnet, and Denel are just some of the country’s SOEs that have been riddled with corruption and tender-fraud leading to the decimation of these entities.

That Dr Pillay and his comrades were so brazen to commit tender fraud during a pandemic and a state of disaster, shows how certain they were that there would be no serious consequences. And their pitiful penalties have proven them right.

Once again, ANC cronies have won the day over vulnerable citizens.