24 January 2013

South Africa: Another Resignation At Increasingly Politicised SIU

press release

The DA has learned that another senior manager, Mr Sello Makubela, has resigned from the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), allegedly citing that he can no longer deal with the politics.

This is the sixth senior manager to resign in the period that Adv. Nomvula Mokhatla has been acting head (just over a year now). One resignation of a senior official every two months points to a very unhealthy state of affairs in this organisation. Others have been demoted, and there are serious questions about several of the new appointments being made.

We have also ascertained that at least one complaint was lodged with the Public Protector last year by a member of the SIU Executive Committee. It is clear that an investigation into the unit is desperately needed.

Equally concerning is that this latest resignation serves as a confirmation of the political agenda that is being driven in the SIU, which is so vital in investigating corruption in our country. In order to do this effectively, it is an absolute requirement that the SIU be independent and free from political influence.

Whilst President Zuma is in Switzerland trying to convince foreign investors that South Africa is a desirable investment destination, he continues to undermine the fight against corruption by allowing the ongoing decimation and politicisation of what used to be a top corruption-busting unit. This will not convince investors that South Africa is a safe place in which to invest, which will only lead to a further weakening of our economy and consequently no relief for the unemployment crisis we face.

We are still awaiting the Public Protector's response as to whether she will investigate the SIU, as per our complaint laid last year, and will follow up with her office on the status of the complaint. The continuous resignations of high-level staff point to an organisation in crisis - an investigation is surely overdue.

Debbie Schafer, Shadow Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development

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