SIU probes KwaZulu-Natal Office of the Premier for corruption

The SIU has been unleashed to probe the Office of the Premier in KwaZulu-Natal. File Picture

The SIU has been unleashed to probe the Office of the Premier in KwaZulu-Natal. File Picture

Published Aug 2, 2023


President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Office of the Premier and where necessary, refer any implicated individuals or entities for prosecution.

In terms of the proclamation which was made public by the SIU on Wednesday, it will cover allegations of unlawful and improper conduct that took place between April 1 2007 and July 29, 2023.

Since 2007, the office has been occupied by several ANC Premiers, ranging from Sbu Ndebele to Dr Zweli Mkhize, Senzo Mchunu, Willies Mchunu, Sihle Zikalala and presently by Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

The SIU said the investigation will focus on the appointment of a consultant to support six provincial priority programmes, including the Luwamba Wellness Centre Project, and Operation Sukuma Sakhe Projects.

There have been allegations that Sukuma Sakhe tenders are not fairly adjudicated and they are only awarded to companies owned by politically-connected individuals.

“The investigation will also look to see if there was any unauthorised, irregular, or fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred by the Office of the Premier in KZN, or losses suffered by the Provincial Office or the State,” it said.

Furthermore, the SIU will seek to establish whether there was any irregular, improper or unlawful conduct by the contractors, employees, or officials of the Office of the Premier and the suppliers, service providers, or any other person or entity.

“In addition to investigating maladministration and malpractice, the SIU will also identify failures, and will also make systematic recommendations to improve measures to prevent future losses,” the SIU said in a statement.

The spokesperson of the SIU, Kaizer Kganyago said the unit has been tasked to take people and entities to the Special Tribunal if necessary and make recommendations.

“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 its investigations caused by acts of corruption, fraud, or maladministration.

“Moreover, 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,” he said.

The Premier, Nomusa Dube Ncube said she has noted the proclamation and they will fully cooperate.

“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,” she said.

Meanwhile, the IFP said it is not surprised by the proclamation as it has become a way of life for the ANC to milk state coffers.

The opposition party added that: "Since the tenure of the former KZN Premier, Sihle Zikalala, who left a trail of destruction, we have been calling for the release of various forensic investigation reports."

Among the forensic reports the IFP claimed were buried under Zikalala’s tenure, is one launched to probe how more than R200 million allocated towards drought relief was squandered.

It also claimed that a forensic report commissioned in 2012 by late former Agriculture MEC Meshack Radebe, after R60 million in taxpayers’ money – meant to assist emerging farmers in rural areas around the province – could not be accounted for, was never released.

This investigation, which cost R10m, was completed in February 2014 and it has since gathered dust.

[email protected]

IOL Politics