Digital Vibes secured its R150m communications contract from the Department of Health (DoH) as a result of alleged tender-rigging and other irregularities in the bidding process, says a Scorpio report on the Daily Maverick site.

The SIU’s latest filings at the Special Tribunal has laid bare the role DoH officials played in an allegedly crooked tender process.

The firm was appointed for a National Health Insurance (NHI) communications strategy in November 2019, but the scope of work was later changed to include Covid-19.

Scorpio’s months-long investigation has so far revealed that the Health Minister, currently on special leave, Zweli Mkhize, and his family have benefited financially from monies disbursed by Digital Vibes.

In its latest filings, the SIU is severely critical of the manner in which Digital Vibes clinched the deal.

‘The procurement process undertaken to award the NHI contract was deeply flawed, unlawful, and invalid and appears to have been rigged to ensure the appointment of Digital Vibes,’ according to the unit.

By all appearances, Digital Vibes seems to have been irregularly favoured in the bidding process. This while Digital Vibes’ main rival ‘was irregularly and incorrectly disqualified from the NHI tender evaluation process’, according to the documents.

Perhaps most shocking is the fact that the DoH picked Digital Vibes over one of its vastly more experienced rival bidders, which offered a significantly lower bid price of R69m, notes the report.

At R141m, Digital Vibes’ bid price was more than double that of its rival’s.

The firm ultimately pocketed R150m from the department.

Full Scorpio report on the Daily Maverick site