Health DG, Dr Sandile Buthelezi

Health Director-General, Dr Sandile Buthelezi has been reinstated in his post after he was placed on precautionary suspension in September pending an investigation into his role in the R150 million Digital Vibes scandal.

Dr Buthelezi was one of a number of officials in the Department of Health who were put on precautionary suspension after being implicated in the report of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) following its probe into the Digital Vibes contract.

In a statement, the DoH says Dr Buthelezi has been reinstated with immediate effect after undergoing a disciplinary hearing process chaired by a retired judge during which he was cleared of all charges.

During his suspension Deputy Director-General responsible for National Health Insurance, Dr Nicholas Crisp was acting in the position.

Senior health officials who remain on suspension pending the outcome of their disciplinary hears include the Deputy DG of Health, Dr Anban Pillay and the DoH’s Head of Communication, Popo Maja.

They were suspended following the resignation of former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize after damning revelations that the contract for the DoH’s communication campaign for NHI and Covid-19 were irregularly awarded to two of the former minister’s close associates. The SIU found the contract “deeply flawed, unlawful and invalid”. 

Dr Buthelezi was not involved in the awarding of the Digital Vibes contract but according to the SIU report he approved payments of around R60 million to the company.