SIU probe into Free State and Northern Cape municipalities over procurement of street lights and an electrification project

The SIU is probing two municipalities over what it believes are dodgy contracts. Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

The SIU is probing two municipalities over what it believes are dodgy contracts. Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Apr 8, 2024


President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe the Sol Plaatjie Local Municipality in the Northern Cape and Tokologo Local Municipality in the Free State for the procurement of street lights and an electrification project.

It is alleged that there is “serious” maladministration in the two municipalities. The allegations come as the municipalities are facing financial difficulties due to corruption.

Last year, six municipalities, including Tokologo municipality in the Free State, were hit by a financial crisis which led to salaries not being paid.

Proclamation 162 of 2024 signed by Ramaphosa authorises the SIU to probe the procurement of a project titled "Erection of 15 High Mast Lights" for the Tokologo Local Municipality and the project titled "Electrification Project" for the Sol Plaatjie Local Municipality.

“In line with the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996 (SIU Act), the SIU will refer any evidence pointing to criminal conduct it uncovers during its investigations to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for further action.

“The SlU is empowered by the SIU Act to institute a civil action in the High Court or a Special Tribunal in its name to correct any wrongdoing uncovered during its investigation caused by acts of corruption, fraud, or maladministration,” the unit said.

In a statement, the SIU said it will also investigate any unauthorised, irregular, fruitless, or wasteful expenditure incurred by the department or the State.

“The scope of the investigation also covers any unlawful or improper conduct by department officials or employees, the applicable suppliers or service providers, or any other person or entity which has caused or may cause serious harm to the interests of the public,” it said.

The investigation into the matter is to recover any financial losses suffered by the State or the municipalities.

Furthermore, the investigation will also establish whether there was any unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money.

The SIU mentioned that the proclamation will cover allegations of unlawful and improper conduct that took place between April 1, 2015, and April 5, 2024, the date of the publication of the Proclamation or before April 1, 2015, and after the date of the proclamation that is relevant to, connected with, and incidental to the matters or involve the same persons, entities or contracts investigated.

In addition to investigating maladministration, malpractice, corruption, and fraud, the SIU said it will identify system failures and make systematic recommendations to improve measures to prevent future losses.

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