SIU fight­ing state cor­rup­tion

Public Sector Manager - - News -

The Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit re­cov­ered more than R20.5 mil­lion on be­half of the state in 2017

The Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit (SIU) is one the agen­cies at the fore­front of South Africa's ef­forts to fight cor­rup­tion in the pub­lic sec­tor, re­cov­er­ing more than R20.5 mil­lion on be­half of the state in 2017.

Its in­ves­ti­ga­tions re­sulted in the re­fer­ral of 168 mat­ters for dis­ci­plinary ac­tion and six re­ports be­ing sub­mit­ted to The Pres­i­dency.The unit has also set its sights on a fur­ther R63 mil­lion that is po­ten­tially re­cov­er­able by the state.

Es­tab­lished in 1996, the SIU in­ves­ti­gates the mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion re­lated to state in­sti­tu­tions, as­sets and pub­lic money.

Deputy head of the unit, Ad­vo­cate Car­o­line Mam­puru, ex­plained that al­though the Pres­i­dent has to sign a procla­ma­tion prior to the SIU com­menc­ing with an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, it is the unit that rec­om­mends these cases to him.

“We re­ceive com­plaints from a num­ber of peo­ple; we in­ves­ti­gate and an­a­lyse them un­til we are sat­is­fied. A com­mit­tee then looks at them and if it is sat­is­fied, the SIU drafts a mo­ti­va­tion for procla­ma­tion,” said Mam­puru.

Once the mo­ti­va­tion is fi­nalised, it is sent to the Depart­ment of Jus­tice and Con­sti­tu­tional Devel­op­ment and then to The Pres­i­dency for a de­ci­sion.

“The Pres­i­dent ap­plies his mind to what has been placed be­fore him. If he agrees that the mat­ter should be in­ves­ti­gated by the SIU, a procla­ma­tion is pub­lished in the Gov­ern­ment Gazette,” she added.

Re­port­ing cor­rup­tion

Mem­bers of the pub­lic can re­port cor­rup­tion di­rectly to the SIU.

“We have of­fices in all prov­inces, ex­cept the North­ern Cape, where of­fi­cials are on hand to as­sist the pub­lic,” said Mam­puru.

Mem­bers of the pub­lic wish­ing to re­main anony­mous can re­port cor­rup­tion via email.

“We look at the al­le­ga­tions and what in­for­ma­tion is al­ready out there. Af­ter anal­y­sis, if we be­lieve that the mat­ter can be in­ves­ti­gated and if we have a man­date, we pro­ceed with the case,” she ex­plained.

While some crit­ics ar­gue that the dis­cre­tionary pow­ers of the Pres­i­dent over the SIU's in­ves­ti­ga­tion process could open the unit to abuse and po­lit­i­cal ma­nip­u­la­tion, Mam­puru said this is not the case.

“From ex­pe­ri­ence, most of the mat­ters that we have sent to the Pres­i­dent for procla­ma­tion are ac­cepted. Re­mem­ber, the mo­ti­va­tion would have suf­fi­cient grounds so there would be very few in­stances when the SIU's re­quest is de­clined. In fact, I do not know of any,” she pointed out.

Cat­a­lyst for fight­ing cor­rup­tion

The SIU's in­terim re­sults for 2017 in­di­cate that the unit con­tin­ues to be a cat­a­lyst for fight­ing cor­rup­tion.

Re­cently the unit re­ceived nine new procla­ma­tions en­abling it to in­ves­ti­gate mat­ters in re­la­tion to fraud at the Eastern Cape Depart­ment of So­cial Devel­op­ment and cor­rup­tion and mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion at the Thabaz­imbi Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Lim­popo and the Gaut­eng Depart­ment of Health.

Mam­puru's role is to make sure that the unit's op­er­a­tions, within eight di­vi­sions across the coun­try, are ef­fi­cient for it to carry out its man­date.

“I find ful­fil­ment when gov­ern­ment re­sources are used for what they are in­tended. When gov­ern­ment spends money and the life of an or­di­nary cit­i­zen is im­proved, I am grat­i­fied. That's what gov­ern­ment is about. When we have cor­rup­tion tak­ing place, it takes away what we should be do­ing for ci­ti­zens,” she said.

“My role is to make sure that the process of tak­ing de­ci­sions is ef­fec­tive, mak­ing sure that there is ac­count­abil­ity and time­lines. I make sure that the de­ci­sions around the mat­ters we will and will not in­ves­ti­gate are taken in a trans­par­ent and con­stituent man­ner,” she added.

A good day for Mam­puru is see­ing a team of in­ves­ti­ga­tors work­ing hard to save the South African gov­ern­ment bil­lions that oth­er­wise would have been mis­used.

Deputy head of the Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit, Ad­vo­cate Car­o­lineMam­puru.

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