Durban - The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has announced that it will investigate what it has called serious allegations of maladministration in the Office of the Premier in KwaZulu-Natal.
The investigation will cover the period from April 2007, the term of the ANC’s first premier for KZN, Sbu Ndebele, and his successors Dr Zweli Mkhize, Senzo Mchunu, Willies Mchunu, Sihle Zikalala and current premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube.
The investigation will focus on a number of areas, including:
- The appointment of consultants in some of government’s key projects, including Operation Sukuma Sakhe.
- The irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred by the Office of the Premier, provincial office of the state over the years.
- Any irregular, improper or unlawful conduct by the contractors, employees, or officials of the Office of the Premier and suppliers, service providers, or any other person or entity.
In addition to investigating maladministration and malpractice, the SIU would also identify failures, and provide systematic recommendations to improve measures to prevent future losses.
SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said they received presidential approval on Friday, and were now ready to proceed with the probe.
The DA and the IFP have welcomed the investigation by the SIU, expressing hope that it would yield results, and declared their commitment to assist if needed.
DA KZN leader Francois Rodgers said the investigation confirmed their long-held suspicion that the top office had been captured.
“As the highest office in the province, the OTP (Office of the Premier) is supposed to set an example to provincial government departments in terms of ethics and performance. Yet this is not the case,” said Rodgers.
He insisted that the situation had worsened at the office under the ANC, which he argued is divided along factional lines, leaving the citizens to suffer in the process.
The DA leader accused the ANC and Dube-Ncube of a lack of accountability, citing 85 incomplete forensic audits within her office that he said had not been acted upon.
“The DA is committed to offering support to the SIU in their investigations. KZN’s people deserve a government that is accountable and transparent, and 2024 will provide them with the opportunity to elect a new government and save our province,” said Rodgers.
IFP Member of the Provincial Legislature Blessed Gwala said that while he was shocked by the probe, he was not surprised as they suspected that corruption was rife at the top office.
“This office co-ordinates departments’ programmes, and our suspicion over the years was that the office was the centre of the rot, and whenever there were calls for a probe there would be a defence effort mounted,” said Gwala.
Sizwe Cele, KZN secretary of the SA National Civics Organisation (Sanco), which recently attended the alliance summit with the ANC, SACP and Cosatu in KZN, said Dube-Ncube had demonstrated commitment to serving the people of KZN through a range of programmes since assuming office last year.
He said this was the reason they had suspicions about the timing of the announcement of the investigation, citing how state organs had in the past been used for political purposes.
“With the elections coming next year we have to question why suddenly this investigation is being conducted. That being said we have every confidence in Dube-Ncube,” said Cele yesterday.
Reacting to the news Dube-Ncube said she had noted the proclamation by the president authorising the SIU to investigate the Office of the Premier.
“We can assure the people of our province that the Office of the Premier will cooperate fully with the SIU and make sure that all relevant matters are finalised as soon as possible,” the premier concluded.