SIU gets flack over anti-graft targets

2013-04-24 18:49


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - The Special Investigating Unit came under fire from MPs on Wednesday for slashing its targets in terms of taking on corruption cases and recovering stolen state funds.

According to its strategic plan the unit, which proceeds on the basis of proclamation by the President, aims to deal with cases involving R100m in potential cash recoveries of misspent state funds and to reclaim an actual R32m in the 2013/2014 financial year.

Speaking during a briefing by the SIU to Parliament's portfolio committee on justice, African Christian Democratic Party MP Steve Swart noted that this was a fraction of the estimated amount of state funds lost annually to graft.

That figure was estimated to be between R25bn and R30bn by former SIU head Willie Hofmeyr in 2011, towards the end of his decade-long tenure.

"The target, in terms of that figure, is almost a drop in the proverbial bucket... my concern is are you making any impact in the fight against corruption when one looks at the figures and the targets?" Swart said.

If it were true, as the SIU leadership stated, that the number of cases the unit planned to investigate had dropped because it intended focusing on more complex matters, then at least the monetary figures should increase.

The unit reported that it recovered R170m last year, when its target was set conservatively low at R35m to allow for a temporary funding shortfall caused by an anomaly in its founding legislation.

Swart said that dip made sense, but given the unit's past successes - it recovered R74m in 2010 and R224m in 2011 - staying at that level did not.

Similarly, it planned to deal with financial mismanagement in procurement matters to the tune of R1bn, though it achieved twice this figure last year.

The SIU's set target on the number of cases it would aim to refer for civil litigation dropped to 30 this year, though in recent years it had consistently referred several hundred civil matters to the courts. It is set to increase to 40 next year and 50 in 2015.

Winding down on grant fraud

SIU acting projects director Paul Modipa said the benchmark figures had changed in part because the unit was winding down its long-running investigation into social welfare fraud. The unit's focus was also shifting to bigger "impact" cases involving wrongdoing by government accounting officers.

Gerhard Visagie, the SIU's head of corporate governance, said the unit's impact on corruption could not be measured by its case load and recoveries alone, as it had a wider, deterrent effect on graft.

But ANC MP John Jeffery objected that the SIU's presentation to the committee was woefully lacking on detail, and padded with generalities on the unit's mandate.

The Democratic Alliance's Debbie Schafer termed it "fluffy nothing".

Both wanted more detail on the 25 cases the unit was currently investigating, and the 15 they planned to complete this year.

Modipa said probes concluded last year included one into graft at the SABC, but investigators had yet to complete the report.

Acting SIU head Nomvula Mokhatla said reporting had lagged, because the unit was trying to get information from staff who had left the unit or moved within it.

Committee chair Luwellyn Landers said there should have been a hand-over process before they left.

"Indeed, that would have been the right process," she conceded.

Long-term plan

Jeffery said the unit was not managing to motivate why it should be awarded more funding, and demanded a comprehensive long-term plan.

"I don't think you've given us what we need in order to deal with your budget. We need a slide specifically to look at the indicators and how they are going to be met.

"I think the points raised by Mr Swart is valid. I don't understand... the number of referrals made to the prosecuting authority - it used to be in the thousands... but you are then dropping it to 50 this year."

He said the same had happened to the number of recommendations for disciplinary action envisioned, and asked why 25 of the unit's posts were vacant though it had the funding to staff them.

Landers asked the SIU to supply the outstanding information in writing "as soon as possible".

The SIU has been criticised as having lost focus since Hofmeyr's departure and President Jacob Zuma is under pressure to appoint a new permanent head.


Read more on:    siu  |  sabc  |  jacob zuma  |  nomvula mokhatla  |  willie hofmeyr  |  corruption

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


An uncomfortable election

The latter few weeks of election 2014, have seen South Africans reeling from an assault on their comfort zone when it comes to voting, writes Daniel Silke


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300

Keep it together Text. Email. Social. With all the different ways to...

From R1399.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.