DA submits bill to limit president’s powers on SIU appointment

2013-06-05 16:35

The DA has submitted a private member’s bill proposing to change the law governing the appointment of a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) head.

The purpose of the bill was to limit the president’s powers in this regard, the Democratic Alliance said today.

It proposes that the president may only make an appointment on the recommendation of the National Assembly, and that the person may only be removed from the post with the agreement of the House.

The bill seeks to oblige the SIU to report to Parliament every six months on every investigation it is conducting.

It further proposes to limit acting appointments to the head of the SIU to six months.

DA MP Debbie Schafer said the aim was expressly to prevent a situation such as the current one at the SIU, where Nomvula Mokhatla had been acting in the position for 17 months.

“The unit is clearly suffering,” said Schafer.

Mokhatla was appointed acting head after the sudden departure of Judge Willem Heath. He succeeded Willie Hofmeyr, but was forced to quit soon after for making comments in an interview that suggested political bias.

The DA has repeatedly said the SIU has lost its operational vigour since Hofmeyr’s departure.

Schafer accused President Jacob Zuma of ignoring problems at the corruption-fighting unit.

“We clearly cannot trust him to do the right thing, so we have tabled this amendment bill in the hope that there are enough people left in the ANC who care about fighting corruption and ensuring that this unit is restored to the effective and efficient unit it once was.”

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