South Africa: SIU Interdicts Payment of Pension Benefits to Former Official

The Special Tribunal has granted the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) a temporary interdict prohibiting the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) from paying pension benefits due to the former Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Chief Financial Officer.

Jacob Hlatshwayo, the former CFO of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), and other respondents now have until 1 February 2021, to show cause, if any, as to why an order should not be made final.

The order follows the SIU investigation into alleged irregular awarding of a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) contract to a company by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

The SIU was authorised to look into the transaction by the Presidential Proclamation R23 of 2020 paving the way for the unit to investigate allegations of corruption, malpractice and maladministration in awarding PPE contracts by State institutions.

In a statement issued on Monday, the SIU said during the investigation, it identified certain officials involved in the alleged irregularities, among those being the former CFO.

"The SIU was informed by the department that Mr Hlatshwayo was dismissed on 12 October 2020 in an unrelated matter. The SIU felt it prudent to secure the pension of the former CFO in order to finalise the investigation."

The SIU brought an application to the Special Tribunal to prevent the GEPF and the department from paying out the pension of the former CFO.

Head of the SIU Advocate Andy Mothibi has welcomed the order.

"The SIU will pursue civil litigation against any official if there is an indication that they have caused damage to the public funds."

Once the investigation is completed, the SIU intends to bring a formal application to the Special Tribunal to recover any losses suffered by the State as a result of the alleged irregular awarding of the contract.

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