Flash Briefing: DG Buthelezi suspended over Digital Vibes scandal; another Treasury veteran resigns; SA needs trillions to battle climate change

  • Department of Health Director-General Dr Sandile Buthelezi has been suspended over his alleged role in the department’s Digital Vibes scandal. Buthelezi signed off R60m in payments to the company for the irregular NHI and Covid communication contracts. The DG has been placed on ‘precautionary suspension’ ahead of a disciplinary hearing. Eyes are on deputy DG Anben Pillay, who reportedly signed off the first R74m payment to the company, but is yet to face any disciplinary action.
  • The South African National Treasury’s succession planning is sufficient to ensure the exit of key personnel doesn’t disrupt plans to return public finances to a sustainable path, its top civil servant said. Tshepiso Moahloli, the head of assets and liability management and the most high-profile woman at the Treasury, last week became the latest senior official to resign — as new Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana prepares to deliver the medium-term budget. While investors have no doubt about the skills and qualifications of the Treasury’s staff, they are concerned there aren’t enough experienced individuals to replace departing veterans and fill other vacancies, said two economists who closely follow its personnel changes. Investors will look to Godongwana on Nov. 4 for clear strategies to lower debt and reduce budget deficits.
  • Investments of about $280bn will be needed to cope with the effects of climate change in 35 cities in South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia by 2050, new research shows. Africa is the fastest urbanising continent and also the hardest hit by global warming, the Coalition for Urban Transitions, which advises governments on economic development and climate change, said in a report. “Africa’s urban development is likely to confront unprecedented biophysical risks,” the group said. “Three pillars will be crucial for low-carbon, climate-resilient urban development: compact urban growth, connected infrastructure, and clean technologies.” 
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