President Jacob Zuma. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
President Jacob Zuma. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has noted with unease the editorial comment published Thursday (Explosive, but now what? November 23).

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/editorials/2017-11-23-editorial-explosive-but-now-what/

In particular, the comments that: "The Special Investigating Unit, which is dependent on permission from the president in order to do investigations, has become ineffectual and rather useless."

The SIU views these comments as irresponsible particularly where every effort must be made to combat corruption in state institutions and entities and agencies who are tasked with this responsibility must be supported and encouraged to do more.

Whilst the SIU legislation requires that a proclamation must be issued by the President prior to the commencement of an investigation, since 2009 over 80 Proclamations have been issued and reports submitted to the Presidency as required by law.

Describing the unit as ineffectual and rather useless is misleading to members of the public, particularly given that the unit has in the past 2016-17 financial year exceeded eight out of its 10 targets and intervened in matters that could have resulted in losses to the state amounting to R4bn.

Working closely with state institutions, the SIU also referred matters worth R3.8bn for the institution or defence/opposition of civil proceedings (including arbitration or counter civil proceedings).

These significant achievements evidence the SIU’s commitment to fighting corruption, malpractice and maladministration and as such the SIU deems the comments made by the writer to be unfounded and unjustified.

In addition to this, during the 2016-17 financial year the unit has submitted six reports to the Office of the President and retrieved R43.5m for the state, and identified a further R126m that the state stands to recover.

In strengthening the fight against corruption, the unit referred 108 matters to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) for forfeiture orders, and 137 matters were referred for disciplinary, executive and/or administrative action. The SIU also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the NPA, to intensify co-operation in relation to matters referred, as well as matters that need to be handed to the AFU.

The SIU wishes to remind all members of the public that transforming the country into a corruption-free society will not be realised without active citizenry.

Members of the public are urged to report suspicions or corrupt activities and work with us to uproot the scourge of corruption in both the public and private sector.

Nazreen Pandor, Head of communications and stakeholder management, SIU

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