SIU tackling corruption head-on
Johannesburg - The special investigating unit (SIU) currently has almost 1 000 individual investigations under way, providing a virtual anatomy of corruption in national and provincial government.
Almost 600 of these relate to procurement, and involve contracts worth more than R9bn. Alongside this, the unit is investigating 360 conflicts of interest on contracts, valued at R3.5bn.
All this forms part of a new approach by the SIU: reducing its focus on "low-hanging fruit" and instead concentrating on high-value procurement concerns across government.
Given that the unit's work indicates that up to 20% of government’s current procurement budget is lost to corruption - and therefore lost to delivery - the importance of the SIU's work cannot be underestimated.
To increase its effectiveness, the unit has developed tools which allow a wide range of government and private-sector databases to talk to each other. This means a wide range of searches and comparisons can be run simultaneously, thus ensuring that there is no place to hide.
The unit has also collaborated in several co-operative initiatives across the law enforcement and economic sectors of government.
These include the anti-corruption task team, established by President Jacob Zuma last year to fast-track high-priority corruption investigations and prosecutions, and to ensure full co-operation across law enforcement entities.
It is part of the Multi-Agency Working Group set up by the Treasury to deal with irregularities in government procurement systems, focusing on closing systems’ gaps as well as detecting and investigating irregularities.
The unit is also involved with the public service and administration department's Wasps initiative - an anti-corruption unit focused on investigating and prosecuting senior public servants involved in corruption.