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SIU to probe Sol Plaatje and FS municipality over electrification, street lights projects

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised the Special Investigating Unit to probe the Sol Plaatje Local Municipality in the Northern Cape and Tokologo Local Municipality in the Free State for the procurement of street lights and an electrification project.

The SIU is probing two municipalities over what it believes are dodgy contracts. File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe the Sol Plaatje Local Municipality in the Northern Cape and Tokologo Local Municipality in the Free State for the procurement of street lights and an electrification project.

It has been alleged that there is “serious” maladministration in the two municipalities. The allegations come as the municipalities are facing financial difficulties due to apparent corruption.

Last year, six municipalities, including Tokologo Municipality, were hit by a financial crisis that led to salaries not being paid.

Proclamation 162 of 2024, signed by Ramaphosa, authorises the SIU to probe the procurement of a project titled “Erection of 15 High Mast Lights” for Tokologo Municipality and the project titled “Electrification Project” for Sol Plaatje Municipality.

“In line with the Special Investigating Unit and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996 (SIU Act), the SIU will refer any evidence pointing to criminal conduct it uncovers during its investigations to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for further action.

“The SlU 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,” the unit said.

In a statement, the SIU said it would also investigate any unauthorised, irregular, fruitless or wasteful expenditure incurred by the relevant department 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,” it said.

The investigation into the matter is to recover any financial losses suffered by the State or the municipalities.

Furthermore, the investigation will also establish whether there was any unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money.

The SIU mentioned that the proclamation will cover 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 is relevant to, connected with, and incidental to the matters or involve the same persons, entities or contracts investigated.

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

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