SAHRC: Don't undermine protector, SIU

2011-07-28 18:52
Johannesburg - Any investigation of the public protector's office or the special investigating unit (SIU) must not undermine these institutions, the SA Human Rights Commission warned on Thursday.

Spokesperson Vincent Moaga said: "The manner in which any investigation is pursued needs to ensure that the independence of these institutions is not undermined and their ability to perform their work is not threatened."

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela reportedly recently faced arrest over corruption allegations, and SIU head Willie Hofmeyr also faces two similar complaints.

"The commission is calling on government to secure all institutions created to support our democracy. It is also calling on institutions such as Parliament, civil society and members of the public, to continue rallying behind the office of the public protector and the special investigating unit."

Police lease probe

Madonsela has denied corrupt activity, saying there had only been a dispute over whether it was appropriate to pay her salary into her company's account, or into her personal account, when she worked at the SA Law Reform Commission.

The report came on the eve of a press conference at which she was expected to discuss her findings on the lease process for police office space in Durban.

Like an earlier probe into a lease agreement in Pretoria, also entered into with businessman Roux Shabangu, she found irregularities and said the accounting officers were national police commissioner General Bheki Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde.

The allegations against Hofmeyr relate to the procurement process for office refurbishment, and a complaint by businessman Dave King, who was being investigated over tax irregularities.

The SAHRC said the Hawks, a division of the police, could have been ideally placed for an investigation in these matters, but if one of their members had a vested interest, they could be regarded as partial.

"It is important that the way in which this matter is handled does not have an adverse impact on the fight against corruption, which negatively affects the advancement of human rights as it diverts resources that are needed to improve the lives of citizens."

The reports are with President Jacob Zuma who has to consult Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Mahlangu-Nkabinde, among other processes, before an official government response is released.

Read more on:    public protector  |  sahrc  |  siu  |  thuli ­madonsela  |  jacob zuma  |  gwen mahlangu-nkabinde  |  nathi mthethwa  |  willie hofmeyr  |  corruption

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