South Africa’s Special Investigating Unit, one of the bodies that potentially has real teeth to tackle corruption, is making headlines for all the wrong reasons lately: it’s been without a permanent head for the last 10 months amid allegations of bitter infighting and poor performance. We’ll bring you a more detailed account of its ill-health soon, but in the meantime we thought we’d share with you the cases on its cards at the moment – and how they’re progressing.

At the beginning of October President Jacob Zuma, in a written reply in parliament, gave a breakdown of the SIU’s 25 ongoing inquiries at national, provincial and local government level. Here is a summary of Zuma’s reply:

1. Kopanong Local Municipality (Free State)

The SIU is to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 July 2006 and 31 March 2009:

  • The procurement of consulting or related services by or on behalf of the Municipality and related expenditure incurred in a manner that was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective and which was contrary to applicable legislation or internal policies and procedures governing the Municipality.
  • The manipulation of the Municipality's supply chain management or procurement processes.
  • Any related unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
  • losses or prejudice suffered by the Municipality as a result of the unnecessary or wasteful engagement of consultancy or related services, payments made to consultancy or related service providers notwithstanding their non-performance, incomplete performance or defective performance and the settlement of claims made by consultancy or related service providers for payments not lawfully due to them.

Starting date of investigation: 12 October 2011

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 31 October 2012.

2. National Department of Rural Development and Land Reform

The SIU is to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 January 2006 and 18 February 2011:

  • The application for and award of grants, the transfer of land or the payment of funds to beneficiaries and the administration thereof by the department, under the Department's Land Reform Programme, in a manner that was –

(a) contrary to applicable –

(i) legislation;
(ii) manuals, guidelines, practice notes and instructions issued by the National Treasury; or
(iii) manuals, policies, procedures, instructions, prescripts or practices of, or applicable to the department; or

(b) fraudulent. – The incurrence of –

(i) irregular expenditure;
(ii) fruitless and wasteful expenditure; or
(iii) expenditure not due, owing and payable, in relation to payments made, land transferred or grants awarded to beneficiaries, suppliers, contractors or service providers, in or relating to the Department's Land Reform Programme.

Starting date of investigation: 18 February 2011

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 31 March 2014.

3. George Local Municipality (Western Cape)

The SIU is to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 January 2004 and 9 December 2010:

(a) Losses suffered by the Municipality as a result of unlawful conduct or irregular practices by the Municipality's personnel or persons or entities doing business with the Municipality in relation to payments made to or disposal of municipal land to the George Housing Agency ("GHA") or the corrupt benefitting as a result of the alienation of municipal property.

(b) The procurement of goods, works or services by or on behalf of the Municipality and related expenditure incurred by the Municipality in a manner that was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective and which was contrary to applicable legislation or internal policies and procedures governing the Municipality.

Starting date of investigation: 9 December 2010

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: the investigation is nearly completed.

4. Oudtshoorn Local Municipality (Western Cape)

The SIU is to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 January 2004 and 4 February 2011:

(a) The procurement of goods, works or services by or on behalf of the Municipality and related expenditure incurred by the Municipality in a manner that was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective and which was contrary to applicable legislation or internal policies and procedures governing the Municipality.

(b) Losses or prejudice suffered by the Municipality as a result of unlawful conduct or irregular practices of the Municipality's personnel, the Municipality's suppliers and service providers or third parties.

(c) Losses or prejudice suffered by the Municipality as a result of the mismanagement of the Municipality's assets, finances or other resources.

Starting date of investigation: 4 February 2011

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: the investigation has been finalised and a report is being drafted.

5. Stellenbosch Local Municipality (Western Cape)

The SIU is to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 September 2005 and 14 January 2011:

(a) The procurement of goods, works or services by or on behalf of the Municipality and related expenditure incurred by the Municipality in a manner that was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective and which was contrary to applicable legislation or internal policies and procedures governing the Municipality.

(b) Losses or prejudice suffered by the Municipality as a result of the mismanagement of the Municipality's assets, finances or other resources.

Starting date of investigation: 14 January 2011.

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 31 May 2012.

6. Swellendam Local Municipality (Western Cape)

The SIU is to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 January 2006 and 29 February 2012:

Maladministration of the affairs of the Municipality by its councillors, officials, employees or agents in relation to:

(a) the supply chain management system of the Municipality;

(b) the management of the Municipality's finances and assets; and

(c) applications by developers for the development of the Swellengate and Swellenmark shopping centre developments and the Municipality's approval of such applications, including the causes of such maladministration.

Starting date of investigation: 29 February 2012.

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 28 February 2013.

7. National Treasury Limpopo Intervention

The SIU is to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 April 2010 and 23 March 2012:

Maladministration of the affairs of the Limpopo Provincial Treasury, the Limpopo Department of Health and Social Development, the Limpopo Department of Roads and Transport, the Limpopo Department of Education and the Limpopo Department of Public Works ("the Departments") in relation to their –

(a) cash management
(b) supply chain management
(c) contract management and
(d) budget preparation and implementation, including the causes of such maladministration.

Starting date of investigation: 23 March 2012.

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 31 July 2012.

8. National Department of Human Settlements

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities in the affairs of the National Department of Housing, the Provincial Departments of Housing, the former Housing Development Boards and Corporations and Local Authorities and their appointed agents (hereinafter collectively referred to as the "Institutions"), which allegedly took place between 1994 and 5 March 2012:

(a) Loss of State funds that were allocated to low cost housing schemes;

(b) mismanagement and misuse of the State's low cost housing scheme; and

(c) the conduct of officials, employees and municipal councillors of the Institutions and their appointed agents responsible for or involved in the administration of the State's low cost housing schemes and in the payment of subsidies under such schemes, which has resulted in losses of or lack of control over property or money allocated for such schemes.

Starting date of investigation: 25 April 2007.

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 30 April 2013.

9. Gauteng Department of Health

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 January 2006 and 14 May 2010:

(a) The procurement of goods, works or services by or on behalf of the department and related expenditure incurred by the department in a manner that was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective and which was contrary to applicable legislation or internal policies and procedures governing the department; and

(b) the incurrence of unauthorised expenditure, irregular expenditure, fruitless and wasteful expenditure and the payment of expenditure not due or payable.

Starting date of investigation: 14 May 2010.

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 30 November 2012.

10. Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (Gauteng)

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 January 2007 and 8 November 2010:

(a) Fruitless and wasteful expenditure and resultant losses suffered by the Municipality due to payments made for goods and services not supplied or not rendered or not delivered and the duplication of payments due to fraudulent or corrupt involvement by Municipal employees, officials, contractors, service providers and suppliers.

Starting date of investigation: 8 November 2010.

The estimated date for the conclusion of the investigation: 30 November 2012.

11. Midvaal Local Municipality (Gauteng)

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 January 2002 and 20 May 2011:

(a) Maladministration of the affairs of the Municipality by its councillors, officials, employees or agents in respect of:

(i) The improper, negligent or erroneous disposal of the Municipality's operating assets as being redundant assets.

(ii) The failure to properly implement the Municipality's Indigent Policy.

(iii) The erroneous issuing of town planning certificates.

(iv) The failure to obtain money belonging to the Municipality from the trust account of the Municipality's attorneys and the failure to utilise such money for municipal purposes.

(v) The failure to properly control the debt owing by the Municipality's debtors.

(vi) The failure to record the Municipality's assets in its asset registers.

(vii) The appointment of staff of the Municipality at incorrect post levels.

(b) The procurement of legal services by or on behalf of the Municipality and related expenditure incurred by the Municipality in a manner that was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective and which was contrary to applicable legislation or internal policies and procedures governing the Municipality.

Starting date of investigation: 20 May 2011

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 31 August 2012.

12. Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality (Gauteng)

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 January 2007 and 8 November 2010:

(a) Irregularities in the recruitment, selection and appointment of staff to the Municipality.

(b) Payment or remuneration, allowances or other benefits to Municipal staff that were not due, owing or payable or that was in excess of stipulated limits.

(c) Fruitless and wasteful expenditure by outsourcing work and services that could be rendered by the officials or employees of the Municipality.

(d) The mismanagement of finances, assets or other resources of the Municipality.

Starting date of investigation: 8 November 2010

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 31 October 2012.

13. National Department of Social Development and the South African Social Security Agency

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 April 1996 and 30 March 2007 in respect of the Department of Social Development (DSD):

The payment and/or receipt of social grants or benefits in respect of deceased and/or fictitious persons and/or persons who do not or did not qualify for the receipt of such grants/benefits or any portion thereof and any conduct directed at, promoting, or facilitating payment or receipt of same.

(b) Conduct of government officials and/or agents responsible for the administration and/or payment of social grants or benefits which has resulted in losses of, lack of control over, or delays in the payment of monies allocated for the payment of such grants or benefits and any conduct directed at, promoting or facilitating same.

Proclamation No. R. 27 of 2010 authorised the SIU to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 15 November 2004 and 8 June 2010 in respect of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA):

(a) The unlawful payment and receipt of social grants in respect of deceased or fictitious persons or by persons who do not qualify for any or all such social grants.

(b) Allegations that staff of SASSA have undisclosed or unauthorised conflicts of interest with suppliers or service providers of SASSA.

(c) Failure by staff of SASSA to disclose that they have engaged in business activities for reward outside their employment with SASSA

Starting date of investigation: 6 April 2005.

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 31 March 2013.

14. Eskom

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 January 2006 and 7 February 2012:

(a) Procurement of coal supplies and coal transport by or on behalf of Eskom and related irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred in a manner that was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective and which was contrary to applicable legislation or internal policies and procedures governing Eskom.

(b) Procurement of helicopter services for the Eastern Cape region by or on behalf of Eskom and related irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred in a manner that was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective and which was contrary to applicable legislation or internal policies and procedures governing Eskom, or which was conducted or facilitated by board members, officials or employees of Eskom with undeclared or unauthorised conflicts of interest.

(c) Any undisclosed or unauthorised interests which by board members, officials or employees of Eskom may have had in contractors, suppliers or service providers of Eskom and the extent of benefits so derived by such persons.

(d) Maladministration in the affairs of Eskom in relation to:

(i) The incorrect blending of different grades of coal to fuel its coal burning power stations;

(ii) the payment for or acceptance by Eskom of coal of inferior quality to that contracted for;

(iii) the procurement of and contracting for work, goods or services for fencing in excess of the need thereof;

(iv) the failure to safeguard fencing materials belonging to Eskom or in respect of which Eskom carried the risk for loss or damage; or

(v) payments made for the blending of coal, for coal or for fencing that were not due or payable, and any related losses that Eskom suffered.

Starting date of investigation: 7 February 2012

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: After initial constraints that affected the funding of resources for this project, the investigation has now begun and the collection and analysis of evidence is underway.

The allocation of additional resources to this project is on hold until the Judicial Matters Amendment Bill, 2012, is finalised by Parliament, which will allow the SIU to recover funding from State institutions involved in SIU investigations, which funding will in turn be used to acquire or deploy additional resources to the SIU's investigations.

15. KwaZulu-Natal: Department of Public Works

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 January 2005 and 27 August 2010:

(a) Allegations that staff of the department enjoy remuneration, income, allowances or rewards in conflict with the conditions of their employment with the department and contrary to the Public Service Act, 1994.

(b) Allegations that staff of the department have undisclosed or unauthorised conflicts of interest with suppliers or service providers of the department.

(c) The premature return by the department of performance guarantees lodged by construction contractors.

(d) The unlawful or irregular conduct by staff of the department, service providers to the Department and third parties relating to any of the aforementioned allegations.

Starting date of investigation: 27 August 2010

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 31 January 2013.

16. National Department of Public Works

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 October 2003 and 30 July 2010:

(a) The incurrence of irregular expenditure and/or fruitless and wasteful expenditure and the payment of expenditure not due, owing or payable.

Starting date of investigation: 30 July 2010

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 31 March 2014.

17.24 North West Municipalities

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 January 2005 and 10 November 2009:

(a) Appointment of staff that is not suitably qualified or otherwise unsuitable.

(b) The promotion and excessive remuneration of staff, contrary to applicable laws and municipal policies.

(c) Failure to take appropriate action against non-performing or under-performing municipal staff.

(d) Allegations of procurement irregularities.

(e) Losses of municipal funds due to theft, fraud and misallocation and the irregular expenditure and mismanagement of municipal funds.

(f) The external influence over and manipulation of procurement and alienation processes.

(g) Undue preference to and favouring of certain parties in the awarding of contracts.

(h) The impairment of the independence and integrity of bid structures and processes.

Starting date of investigation: 10 November 2009

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 31 March 2013.

18. Mpumalanga Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 April 2007 and 5 March 2012:

(a) The procurement of and contracting for consulting or related services by or on behalf of the department in relation to its Water for All Flagship Project and payments made in respect thereof.

(b) The procurement of and contracting for sewerage suctioning or related services by or on behalf of the department and payments made in respect thereof.

(c) Maladministration of the affairs of the department and any losses or prejudice suffered by the department as a result of such maladministration in relation to its Water for All Flagship Project, the provision of sewerage suctioning or related services or the engagement of service providers or contractors to repair or refurbish water pipelines.

(d) Practices in terms of which officials or employees of the department were promised, solicited or received benefits or other forms of unlawful gratification from anyone in connection with the execution of their duties or the failure to execute their duties.

Starting date of investigation: 5 March 2012.

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 31 March 2013.

19. South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 January 2005 and 29 October 2010:

(a) Allegations that SABC board members or personnel have undisclosed or unauthorised conflicts of interest with suppliers or service providers of the SABC.

(b) Payment or remuneration, commission or allowances or the provisioning of benefits to the SABC's personnel that were not due, owing or payable or that was in excess of stipulated limits.

(c) The continued payment of remuneration or allowances or provisioning of benefits to the SABC's personnel suspended from duty for excessively long periods.

Starting date of investigation: 29 October 2010

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 31 May 2012.

20. Department of Arts and Culture – National Heritage Council

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 January 2006 and 14 January 2011:

(a) The procurement of goods, works or services by or on behalf of the Council and related expenditure incurred by the Council in a manner that was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective and which was contrary to applicable legislation or internal policies and procedures governing the Council;

(b) the incurrence of irregular expenditure; and

(c) the making of false financial statements.

Starting date of investigation: 14 January 2011

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 30 April 2012 and a report is being prepared.

21. Eastern Cape Department of Health

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 January 2003 and 4 September 2008:

(a) Payments made to fictitious employees.

(b) Payment of salaries, benefits, commission, allowances and overtime to employees that were not due or owing to them.

(c) Non-compliance by the department's employees with applicable legislation governing the procurement processes.

(d) Procurement of goods or services by or for the department by its employees at the Kgotsong Santa Hospital from entities in which relatives, friends or associates of the department's employees held an interest.

(e) Payments made to suppliers or service providers for goods or services not completed or in excess of what was due.

(f) Losses suffered by the department due to the forfeiture of indemnification for accident damages as a result of the failure by staff of the department to timeously report accidents and submit insurance claims.

Starting date of investigation: 4 September 2008

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: It is difficult to say, as a number of challenges were only recently overcome. Further, the SIU is in the process of applying for an extension to this proclamation that will also provide for a number of new allegations or matters to be investigated.

22. Eastern Cape Department of Education

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 April 2005 and 30 July 2010:

(a) Losses suffered by the department as a result of the mismanagement of its expenditure or through theft, fraud or other unlawful conduct and irregular practices of the staff of the department and third parties.

(b) The mismanagement of the remuneration or benefits of the staff of the Department.

(c) Remuneration or benefits granted to staff of the department, whilst these employees were not entitled to such remuneration or benefits or any part thereof.

(d) Failure by the department to take appropriate steps to recover remuneration and benefits paid out or granted incorrectly or erroneously.

(e) Irregularities in the recruitment, selection and appointment of staff to the department.

Starting date of investigation: 30 July 2010

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 30 September 2012.

23. The former Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Transport

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 10 May 2001 and 28 March 2010:

(a) The procurement of goods, works or services by or on behalf of the former department and related expenditure incurred by the former department in a manner that was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective and which was contrary to applicable legislation or internal policies and procedures governing the former department.

(b) Undeclared or unauthorised conflicts of interest by officials or employees of the department.

Starting date of investigation: 20 May 2011

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 1 June 2013.

24. South African Police Service

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 January 2005 and 22 December 2011:

(a) The procurement of goods, works or services (including leased accommodation) by or on behalf of the SAPS and related expenditure incurred by the SAPS in a manner that was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective and which was contrary to applicable legislation or internal policies and procedures governing the SAPS.

(b) The incurrence of unauthorised expenditure, irregular expenditure, fruitless and wasteful expenditure and/or the payment of expenditure not due, owing or payable.

(c) Allegations that SAPS staff have undisclosed or unauthorised conflicts of interest with suppliers or service providers of the SAPS.

(d) Non-compliance with the provisions of the Government Immovable Asset Management Act, 2007.

(e) The unlawful or irregular conduct by staff of the SAPS, suppliers or service providers to the SAPS and third parties relating to any of the above allegations.

Starting date of investigation: 10 August 2010

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: 31 July 2013.

25. National Department of Arts and Culture – investing in culture

The SIU was requested to investigate the following alleged irregularities, which allegedly took place between 1 April 2006 and 30 July 2010:

(a) The under-spending or misspending of the department's budgets for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Projects for the 2007, 2008 and 2009 financial years.

(b) Failure by staff of the department to ensure that transfers and subsidies to beneficiaries in terms of the Department's Arts and Culture in Society Programme, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Investing in Culture Programme and the Cultural Development Programme were applied for their intended purposes.

(c) The incurrence of irregular expenditure or fruitless and wasteful expenditure in respect of the aforementioned Programmes.

Starting date of investigation: 30 July 2010

Estimated date for conclusion of investigation: The investigation has been finalised and a final report is being prepared.

Issued by the Presidency on 30 September 2012. Download the original document here.

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Excerpt
South Africa’s Special Investigating Unit, one of the bodies that potentially has real teeth to tackle corruption, is making headlines for all the wrong reasons lately: it’s been without a permanent head for the last 10 months amid allegations of bitter infighting and poor performance. We’ll bring you a more detailed account of its ill-health soon, but in the meantime we thought we’d share with you the cases on its cards at the moment – and how they’re progressing.