What is going on at the SIU?

Its one year since Advocate Willem Heath resigned as head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) after his controversial appointment, and that this Unit, which is so vital in the fight against corruption, has been without a permanent head.

During the tenure of Acting Head Advocate Nomvula Mokhatla, the Democratic Alliance has become increasingly concerned about allegations emanating from the unit.

“Our information is that Adv Mokhatla is not able to devote sufficient time to the Unit, given her responsibilities at the National Prosecuting Authority. However, she has made some controversial decisions, such as the reinstatement of Miseria Nyathi against legal advice, and the alleged interference in disciplinary processes. The worst though, is that she now appears to have abdicated her responsibility largely to the very person who was reinstated, amidst allegations that have still not been tested, to the point that it appears Miseria Nyathi is now the one who is really running the SIU” says Debbie Schafer, Shadow Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development.

This undermines the President’s appointment, and undermines the credibility and integrity of the SIU.

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“Our information is that a number of experienced people have resigned, one has been demoted, and there are a number of appointments that have been made where questions have been raised as to whether the correct process has been followed” said Schafer.

The ongoing involvement of NEHAWU in the SIU is of great concern. In a recent communication they highlighted their “achievements”, which include removing Willie Hofmeyr and the reinstatement of Nyathi, the resignation of various people and the “Exco restructuring”.

Further concerns have also been raised about the events leading up to Hofmeyr’s removal last year, which again involve NEHAWU and even an individual previously involved in the Secret Service.

In the midst of South Africa’s declining international image in the Corruption Perception Index, South Africa can no longer afford to ignore these allegations, and we cannot afford the credibility of the SIU to be compromised.

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