President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed three proclamations authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration in the eThekwini Municipality, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and Gauteng Enterprise Propeller and to recover any losses suffered by the state.
SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the proclamations authorise the SIU to unleash all its legislative powers to subpoena bank statement and cellphone records, search and seize evidence, and interrogate witnesses under oath in a quest to hold those responsible to account for their actions.
He said Proclamation R9 of 2021 authorised the SIU to investigate eThekwini Municipality will look into allegations of maladministration regarding the affairs of the municipality as well as allegations in respect of the alienation of immovable property for the provision of housing through the municipality’s Human Settlements Infill Housing Programme that was contrary to manuals, policies or practices of the municipality.
“The investigation will also focus on the transfer or sale of vacant properties by developers appointed by the municipality for purpose of the municipality’s Human Settlements Infill Housing Programme in breach of the developers’ contractual obligations and contrary to the objectives of the municipality’s housing programme,” Kganyago said.
He said the SIU would investigate all payments made by the eThekwini Municipality – in respect of the allegations – that had not been not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost effective.
“The investigations will focus on transactions that took between 12 October 2012 and 1 April 2021 or prior to October 2012 and after 1 April but relevant to, connected with people, entities or contracts that are being investigated,” he said.
He said Proclamation R8 of 2021 authorised the SIU to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration in the affairs of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). The investigation will focus squarely on the payments of COVID-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) benefits to people who were not entitled to receive such payments or submitted false, irregular, invalid or defective applications to the UIF. The investigation will look at payments from 1 March 2020 to 1 April 2021. It will also look at payments that took place after this date but which are relevant to, connected to or involve the same people, entities or contracts that are being investigated.
The SIU investigated TERS payments under a secondment agreement with the Department of Labour, which has since expired.
“The investigation uncovered a number of irregularities in the TERS payments, which prompted the corruption busting unit to apply for a proclamation. The SIU will now use all its legislative powers to get to the bottom of TERS payments and hold those responsible to account,” he said.
The SIU will use Proclamation R7 of 2021 to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration in the affairs of Gauteng Enterprise Propeller, an agency of the Gauteng Provincial Government.
“The SIU investigation will focus on the procurement or contracting of goods and payments made in relation to tender number GEP02/MRK- Township Entrepreneur Awards, which took place during 2017. The SIU will also investigate the project management services for the Pitching Booster Initiative that took place in Sedibeng in 2018,” Kganyago said.
The investigation will cover transactions that took place between 1 January 2017 and 1 April 2021, and transactions that either took place before January 2017 or after 1 April 2021 but relevant to, connected with the same persons, entities or contracts being investigated.
The SIU will also investigate any unlawful or improper conduct by employees of the Agency, suppliers and any other person or entity in relation to the above mentioned transactions.