Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Pretoria: The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has called on all levels of government and State institutions to implement any referrals made to them by the unit.

In its COVID-19 related procurement report to President Cyril Ramaphosa, the SIU revealed that following investigations, it has referred at least 224 government officials for disciplinary action as a result of irregularities that were uncovered.

SIU spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago, said a delay in instituting disciplinary measures against errant government administrators “sends the wrong message” about how government is dealing with allegations of corruption or fraud.

“The SIU urges other government departments, provinces, municipalities and State-owned entities to swiftly implement SIU disciplinary referrals and communicate outcomes to the public.

“The slow pace of implementation of SIU referrals against implicated officials in wrongdoing is an ongoing concern within the SIU, as it sends a wrong message to the public and those tasked with the responsibility to manage public resources,” he said.

Kganyago said the referrals ought to serve as a deterrent for officials who may want to engage in irregular practices.

“We are of the firm belief that a swift implementation of SIU referrals and consequence management will serve as a deterrent to would be maladministrators and officials with a habit of misappropriating public funds,” he said.

In his State of the Nation Address last week, President Ramaphosa announced that his office has “set up mechanisms to monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the SIU, and ensure that government departments and entities act against those who have violated regulations and broken the law” — an announcement Kganyago said the unit is “pleased” with.

Kganyago praised the Gauteng government’s precautionary suspension of nine officials implicated in alleged wrongdoing uncovered by the unit in the refurbishment of the Anglo Gold Ashanti Hospital.

“The Special Investigating Unit applauds the Gauteng Provincial Government for its swift implementation of the SIU’s disciplinary referrals against officials from the [provincial] Health and Infrastructure Development Departments,” he said.

A SIU investigation had discovered that the appointment of the professional service providers and contractors for the hospital’s refurbishment were irregular, unlawful and did not comply with procurement regulations.