President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed Proclamation R16 of 2021 authorizing the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration in the affairs of KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport, and to recover any financial losses suffered by government.
The investigation will focus on the 10 August 2018 procurement of, or contracting for the construction of an eight (8) kilometer concrete barrier wall between uMkanyakude and Mozambique Border and payments made in respect thereof. The tender was awarded to a joint venture between ISF Construction and Shula Construction to the value of over R85 million.
The SIU received allegations from unnamed whistleblower claiming that the transport department has executed the project of constructing a concrete barrier despite the legal mandate of such project resting with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure. The public works department is the custodian of border infrastructure outlay and the maintenance thereof.
The October 2020 report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure shows that only 0.166 km work was completed and an enormous amount of R48 million had already been paid to the contractor. This amount was supposed to have been spent on a 3 kilometer border wall placement.
The SIU investigation is aimed at determining whether the procurement and payments made in relation to the construction of barrier were done in a manner that was fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective; or contrary to applicable legislation, guidelines issued by the National Treasury or the relevant Provincial Treasury.
The SIU will also look at whether there was any related unauthorized, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred by the institutions or financial losses suffered by the institutions or the government.
Furthermore, the SIU will investigate any irregular, improper or unlawful conduct by contractors, employees or officials of the institution; or the suppliers, service providers or any other person or entity, relating to the allegations of corruption and maladministration.
The investigation will cover transactions that took place between 13 July 2016 and 7 May 2021, and transactions that either took place before July 2016 or after 7 May 2021 but relevant to, connected with same persons, entities or contracts being investigated.
The proclamation authorizes the corruption busting Unit to use all its legislative powers to subpoena bank statements and cellphone records, search and seize evidence, and interrogate witnesses under oath in an effort to hold those responsible to account for their actions. Where criminal conduct is uncovered during investigations, the SIU will bring the matter to the attention of its partners National
Prosecuting Authority (NPA), as well as the Hawks in the South African Police Service (SAPS) for further action.
Fraud and corruption allegations may be reported via the following platforms: firstname.lastname@example.org / Hotline: 0800 037 774