- President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed a new proclamation authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration in the affairs of the Lepelle Northern Water Board in Limpopo and Amatola Water Board in the Eastern Cape, and to recover any financial losses suffered by the State through corruption and negligence.
- Both provinces suffer from severe water shortages.
The SIU will investigate alleged serious maladministration in connection with both boards under Proclamation R.82 of 2022. The SIU investigation will include the procurement of, or contracting for, drought relief services and technologies by or on behalf of the Water Boards and payments made in a manner that was not fair competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective.
The SIU will look into the conduct of Board members, employees or officials of the Water Boards as well as officials or employees of the Ministry of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation to establish any alleged involvement or facilitating the manipulation of the Water Boards’ supply chain management processes by suppliers, service providers or any other person in collusion with, or through the intervention of the mentioned parties.
The probe will seek to establish whether or not there is any improper or unlawful conduct by Board members, official or employees of Board members, employees or officials of the Water Boards; or officials or employees of the Ministry of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation to corruptly or unduly benefit themselves or others or are found to have been fraudulent and any related unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred by the Water Boards or the State as result.
The SIU will investigate any alleged unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money or property, and unlawful, irregular or unapproved acquisitive act, transaction, measure or practice having bearing on State property. The probe will also seek to establish whether or not there has been any intentional or negligent loss of public money or damage to public property.
Furthermore, the investigation will also probe any unlawful or improper conduct by the suppliers or service providers in question or their employees.
The proclamation covers allegations of unlawful and improper conduct that took place between 1 August 2019 and 5 August 2022, the date of the publication of the Proclamation or before 1 August 2019 and after the date of this Proclamation that are relevant to, connected with, incidental to the matters or involve the same persons, entities or contracts investigated.
The SIU is empowered to institute civil action in the High Court or a Special Tribunal in its name, to correct any wrongdoing uncovered during both investigations caused by acts of corruption, fraud or maladministration. In line with the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996, the SIU will refer any evidence pointing to criminal conduct it uncovers to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for further action.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal