File picture: Philimon Bulawayo
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has been ordered to dig deep into tender corruption allegations in the City of Joburg, dating back to 2009.

President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday authorised the SIU to probe alleged wrongdoing regarding the R86.4million tender for the procurement of or contracting for vehicles from Fire Raiders (Pty) Ltd in 2014.

“Whistle-blowers have alleged that while the costs associated with the purchase of the 'red fleet' were paid over to the service provider, delivery was not effected,” Ramaphosa's spokesperson, Khusela Diko, said.

“The SIU will probe whether municipal employees or officials or contractors or service providers had acted in a corrupt manner, engaged in fraudulent, unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure, or had acted in a corrupt manner or unduly benefited themselves or other persons or entities.

“The investigation will cover the period between January 1, 2009 and the present will look into suspected intentional or negligent loss of public money or damage to public property, possible offences under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, and unlawful or improper conduct which has caused or may cause serious harm to the interests of the public,” Diko said.

She said Ramaphosa had referred the matter to the unit in terms of section 2(1) of the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act.

Diko said the SIU would “investigate any alleged serious mal- administration in connection with the affairs of the municipality, improper or unlawful conduct by employees or officials of the municipality, unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money or property, and unlawful, irregular or unapproved acquisitive acts, transactions, measures or practices that have a bearing on state property”.

She said the investigation would also look into “allegations of wrongdoing regarding repairs and maintenance work at fire stations in the city, the procurement of closed-circuit television equipment and related services from SOS Protec Sure National Division cc, and the procurement of or contracting for office accommodation and furniture for the city's integrated operations centre”.

Mayor Herman Mashaba has welcomed the investigation but questioned the timing.

He said “the war against corruption is won not by words, but by deeds, and its success is measured not by commissions of inquiry but by the number of people behind bars.

“It is my hope that this investigation will not amount to another empty gesture like a talk shop, but rather achieve the justice which has been systematically denied through the failure of the criminal justice system to prosecute cases of corruption we investigated.

“The residents deserve to see justice done, and those responsible for corruption must be held criminally to account. The president’s announcement is at odds with the manner in which our investigations have been ignored,” Mashaba said.