SIU driven to work faster

Unit put to the test with Life Esidi­meni in­ves­ti­ga­tion as it un­der­takes to fi­nalise cases within a year

CityPress - - News - SETUMO STONE setumo.stone@city­press.co.za

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the tragic death of more than 100 men­tally ill pa­tients af­ter they were moved from Life Esidi­meni fa­cil­i­ties in Gaut­eng to un­qual­i­fied non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions is one of the cases the Spe­cial In­ves­ti­gat­ing Unit (SIU) will fo­cus on while im­ple­ment­ing its new strat­egy to speed up its work. The cases the SIU in­ves­ti­gates some­times take up to six years to fi­nalise, and the unit now plans to fast-track its in­quiries so the cases can be con­cluded within a year.

The SIU has come un­der fire for tak­ing an un­rea­son­ably long time to com­plete in­sti­ga­tions.

Ear­lier this month, in a bid to hold the of­fi­cials in­volved to ac­count, as well as to re­cover and pre­vent fi­nan­cial losses to the state caused by cor­rup­tion, fraud and mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion, Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma signed a procla­ma­tion that al­lows the SIU to in­ves­ti­gate the Gaut­eng health de­part­ment over the Life Esidi­meni catas­tro­phe.

This week, SIU head Ad­vo­cate Andy Moth­ibi said that:

. Of­fices in all prov­inces would be en­hanced to al­low for bet­ter syn­ergy with the head of­fice in Pre­to­ria;

. The unit would “go big” on data an­a­lyt­ics to be able to in­form gov­ern­ment depart­ments and state-owned com­pa­nies of the cor­rup­tion risks they faced so that they could proac­tively pre­vent them;

. The SIU has signed a mem­o­ran­dum of agree­ment with the pres­i­dency and the jus­tice de­part­ment to en­sure the procla­ma­tions of its in­ves­ti­ga­tions – which have to be is­sued by the pres­i­dent – are signed off faster; and

. He is speak­ing to the pres­i­dency about a way for the unit to fol­low up on re­fer­rals it makes to the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity so that it can pro­vide feed­back to com­plainants and whis­tle-blow­ers. Other re­fer­rals in­clude lit­i­ga­tion and dis­ci­plinary steps.

Moth­ibi said the SIU’s or­gan­i­sa­tional review project sought to im­prove its busi­ness case and per­for­mance, as well as re­as­sure staff about their ca­reer paths and op­por­tu­ni­ties in the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

He said the unit pre­pared “a case for change” that was in­formed by global cor­rup­tion sta­tis­tics and fac­tors af­fect­ing its per­for­mance.

“We then re­viewed our value chain and iden­ti­fied ar­eas where we need to im­prove, and we are in the process of doc­u­ment­ing it,” he said, adding that the struc­ture was last re­viewed more than 10 years ago.

“We have re­alised that our re­gional ca­pac­ity is not as de­fined, so you find dis­con­nec­tions be­tween the head of­fice and re­gional of­fices, which af­fect per­for­mance. We will be firm­ing up our re­gional of­fices.”

Moth­ibi said that, since he took over in May last year, he had im­proved per­for­mance in­di­ca­tor at­tain­ment lev­els from 29% to 71%.

“I am happy to say that we have turned the sit­u­a­tion around,” he said. “Part of the new strat­egy is to en­sure that more new mea­sures are put in place for fur­ther im­prove­ments.”

The de­lay in the procla­ma­tion process was high­lighted re­cently af­ter the Eco­nomic Freedom Fighters ac­cused Zuma of de­lay­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the SABC to pro­tect his po­lit­i­cal al­lies.

Moth­ibi said the SIU con­ducted pre­lim­i­nary work at the SABC as part of an as­sess­ment process to pre­pare for a procla­ma­tion request, which Zuma has re­ceived. The unit must wait for ap­proval be­fore it can be­gin the probe.

Moth­ibi said the sign­ing of procla­ma­tions needed to be speeded up.

How­ever, he added: “We do not ex­pect the pres­i­dent to

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