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SIU to investigate Sol Plaatje Municipality

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President Cyril Ramaphosa recently issued a proclamation directing the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe electrification tenders awarded by Sol Plaatje Municipality.

Sol Plaatje Municipality. File picture: Soraya Crowie

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa recently issued a proclamation directing the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe electrification tenders awarded by Sol Plaatje Municipality.

The SIU, in May 2023, noted that complaints were registered regarding payments made by Sol Plaatje Municipality for an infrastructure and electrification project in Lerato Park.

The municipality allocated R33 million in its 2021/22 capital budget to electrify 1,500 households in Lerato Park and R20 million for electricity provision to 1,100 households in Lethabo Park.

However, residents of Lethabo Park, who were connected to the grid in March during the second phase of the electrification project, experienced numerous delays. They claimed to have been waiting for power for five years.

The SIU has been tasked to investigate serious maladministration, unlawful expenditure of public money, improper or unlawful conduct of employees, or any offence committed in terms of the Prevention of Combating of Corrupt Activities.

The SIU is also tasked with recouping any financial losses incurred by the state or the municipality.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago stated that they would also look into any unauthorised, irregular, fruitless, or wasteful expenditure incurred by the municipality or the state.

“The scope of the investigation also covers any unlawful or improper conduct by department officials or employees, the applicable suppliers or service providers, or any other person or entity that has caused or may cause serious harm to the interests of the public. Furthermore, the investigation will also establish whether there was any unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money,” said Kganyago.

He added that the proclamation covered allegations of unlawful and improper conduct that took place between April 1, 2015, and April 5, 2024, the date of the publication of the proclamation, or before April 1, 2015, and after the date of the proclamation, that was relevant to, connected with, and incidental to the matters or involved the same persons, entities or contracts investigated.

“In addition to investigating maladministration, malpractice, corruption and fraud, the SIU will identify system failures and make systematic recommendations to improve measures to prevent future losses.”

Kganyago stated that the SIU would refer any evidence pointing to criminal conduct it uncovers during its investigation to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for further action.

“The SIU is empowered by the SIU Act to institute a civil action in the High Court or a Special Tribunal in its name to correct any wrongdoing uncovered during its investigation caused by acts of corruption, fraud, or maladministration.”

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