Axe is about to fall on SIU deputy

2010-11-28 08:57

President Jacob Zuma’s prime ­corruption-busting agency, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), is about to be rocked by the axing of its deputy head.

City Press has reliably learned that Faiek Davids, the SIU’s second-in-charge, is on the brink of being fired from the unit, allegedly for a breakdown of trust between him and SIU boss Willie Hofmeyr.

Davids was placed on “special leave” in June last year, partly due to his name ­being mentioned in the secret tapes that led to corruption charges against ­Zuma being dropped.

A range of sources have told City Press that there was widespread confusion in the unit about Davids’ position, mainly because he had not faced disciplinary charges ­almost 18 months after he was in effect suspended by Hofmeyr.

After obtaining legal advice, the SIU declined to comment on the matter. Davids’ lawyer said he would like to “clarify his situation”, but might be perceived to be acting “in violation of the terms of his special leave”.

City Press understands Davids was placed on special leave for three main reasons:
»? A voicemail message left on his cellphone by former Scorpions boss Leonard McCar thy that was mentioned in the transcripts of the secret “Zuma tapes” made public in April last year;

»?Allegations of insubordination and not following reporting lines; and

»?Accusations of nepotism in the appointment of SIU employees.

Because of Hofmeyr’s two jobs – he also heads the Asset Forfeiture Unit in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) – Davids has in ­effect been running the SIU since 2004. Hofmeyr has previously ­admitted to adopting a hands-off ­
approach at the SIU. Sources ­sympathetic to Davids say Hofmeyr is now trying to reassert his power in the unit.

The SIU is at the centre of the Zuma administration’s anti-graft campaigns and has had numerous high-profile corruption probes referred to it in recent months.

Under Davids, the SIU assumed the role of a state-owned audit firm contracted by various departments to do forensic audits into procurement and service delivery.

Davids managed to stay out of the limelight until the release of the Zuma tapes in April last year.

Contained in the transcripts of conversations between McCarthy, former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka and others was a voicemail message McCarthy left on Davids’ cellphone on December 24 2007 – six days after Zuma was elected ANC president at the party’s watershed Polokwane conference.

The message was transcribed as: “Davids, uh, McCarthy here, give me a ring please, you send me ’n gevaarlike SMS here just before Christmas. I am Thabo man, I mean we are still wiping the blood from our faces, or egg, or egg and blood from our faces. Saw the man on Friday evening, we planning a comeback strategy. And once we have achieved that, we will clean up all around us my friend. Bye.”

Hofmeyr was instrumental in the decision by former acting prosecutions head Mokotedi Mpshe to let Zuma off the hook after receiving transcripts of the secret tapes.

City Press understands that Hofmeyr confronted Davids about McCarthy’s voicemail message.

Davids allegedly refused to ­discuss the message unless he was provided with the ­recordings.

At the end of May last year all the SIU’s senior managers were flown to Pretoria for an emergency meeting with Hofmeyr. It was widely expected Davids’ suspension would be announced at the meeting.

Two weeks later, Davids was placed on special leave.

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