Failed SAA deal now under SIU’s radar

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has set its sights on the failed sale of SAA shares to strategic partner Takatso Consortium.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has set its sights on the failed sale of SAA shares to strategic partner Takatso Consortium.

Published Apr 11, 2024


The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has set its sights on the failed sale of SAA shares to strategic partner Takatso Consortium.

The unit, which has a team investigating SAA in line with a proclamation issued in 2020, is already gathering information to be assessed with a view to seeking a fresh proclamation to investigate the deal.

This was revealed by SIU head advocate Andy Mothibi when interviewed by Newzroom Afrika.

The SAA deal made headlines recently with the public enterprises portfolio committee recommending that the SIU should further investigate the now-cancelled deal.

Mothibi said they knew that the portfolio committee would like the matter to be referred to them.

“This is really not the first time the matter has been raised. It was raised with us before. In fact, we presented it before Scopa (standing committee on public accounts),” he said in reference to their appearance before Scopa last November.

“The matter was raised because it is our mandate to ensure that where we become aware that the state would have lost unduly, our mandate enjoins us to really consider ensuring that we look into the matter,” he said.

“Even before the portfolio committee on public enterprises made a pronouncement, we still have to receive a formal referral. Our team that investigates at SAA has already started gathering info to ensure we assess it in line with our mandate and will ultimately make a call and prepare a proclamation to ensure we investigate that matter,” Mothibi said.

Although the portfolio committee adopted its report, it still had to be adopted by a resolution of the National Assembly.

On Wednesday, SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago confirmed to the “Cape Times” that the SIU was awaiting a formal referral from Parliament.

“This matter was not raised formally,” Kganyago said.

Kganyago confirmed that Mothibi told the SIU team already investigating at SAA “to also look at this thing to see if there was a need to do a proclamation”.

In November last year, SIU chief investigator Leonard Lekgetho told Scopa that the SIU received new allegations in relation to the SAA-Takatso deal, which was undergoing SIU internal processes of assessment.

“The SIU has made requests for information from various sources that include the Competition Commission, the auditor-general and the Department of Public Enterprises in order to assess and motivate for a proclamation. The information is being packaged and is to be submitted soon from various entities,” he said at the time.

Asked when the fresh proclamation was likely to be prepared, Kganyago said it was difficult to say because there were certain processes to be followed.

“It is important to say the process has started,” he said.

“If they get enough information, there is another process that will happen. We will need to send a request for a proclamation to the Department of Justice and for it to go to the Presidency.

That process will still happen,” he said. Kganyago indicated that should the SIU’s current investigation at SAA find anything on the SAA-Takatso matter, “if it falls under the (existing) proclamation, we take it and continue with the investigations”.

The Department of Public Enterprises did not respond to a request for comment. Minister Pravin Gordhan had threatened to take the portfolio committee to court over its decision to call for the SIU to probe the failed deal.

Political parties across the complete spectrum welcomed the proactive stance by the SIU, while Parliament has yet to make a formal referral.

GOOD Party secretary-general Brett Herron said the serious allegations by the former director-general and the ultimate collapse of the transaction required proper investigation and a transparent report to the people of South Africa.

“Therefore, if the SIU finds grounds to investigate this transaction, then we expect that the president will provide the proclamation. South Africans have invested substantially in the resuscitation of SAA and we deserve to know what went down. If there was any maladministration or corruption it must be exposed and those involved must face the law,” Herron said.

DA MP Mimmy Gondwe said they welcomed the information from Mothibi that even before the portfolio committee made its recommendation, the SIU had started gathering information.

ACDP chief whip Steve Swart said: “We trust that they will obtain a fresh proclamation and hope it will be expedited.”

IFP MP Mzamo Buthelezi said: “We encourage them to work speedily to get the information so that they do the investigation.

At the end of the day we want everything exposed as far as the deal is concerned.”

Cape Times