Dr Anban Pillay Picture: World Health Organisation
Dr Anban Pillay Picture: World Health Organisation

Health minister needed the SIU report to suspend Pillay

By Kailene Pillay Time of article published Sep 30, 2021

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National Health Minister Joe Phaahla says he needed to be armed with the SIU report before suspending Deputy Director-General Dr Anban Pillay over the Digital Vibes contract.

Pillay was the acting Director General at the time that the Digital Vibes contract was awarded.

In a media briefing held on Thursday morning, Phaahla said Pillay could not have been suspended at the same time as director-general Dr Sandile Buthelezi.

He maintained that Buthelezi’s suspension was undertaken from outside the department as it came from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office.

“I could not act any further until I had the proper documentation which is the report,” he said.

He confirmed that Pillay and five other officials still employed by the department would receive their notice of suspension by the end of the day.

The director-generals for the other three officials implicated in the saga, who are no longer employed by the department, have been notified of the transgressions.

Phaahla added that Buthelezi and Pillay will not participate in any vaccination rollout campaigns until the disciplinary processes have been concluded.

He did, however, tell the media that due to the thorough work by the SIU, “the processes against those implicated should not take too long”.

“I think it could be concluded in a matter of days,” he said.

Acting-director general Dr Nicholas Crisp said that since the allegations of the misuse of funds surfaced, there has been “heightened vigilance” in the department.

“The controls are tight. It has always been tight but it is when people are trying to take short cuts or work in a short space of time that mistakes happen,” he said.

Meanwhile, the department says it had completed the review of the report and charges were being formulated against those implicated.

Political Bureau

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