SIU to investigate Covid-19 payments at eThekwini Municipality

President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed three proclamations authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate allegations of corruption in the eThekwini Municipality.

The SIU was also tasked with recovering any losses suffered by the government.

In the first instance, the SIU will investigate corruption and maladministration in payments of the Covid-19 relief fund that falls under the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

“The investigation will focus squarely on the payments of Covid-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) benefits to people who were not entitled to receive such payments or submitted false, irregular, invalid or defective application to the UIF, including the causes of such maladministration,” said SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

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“The investigation will look at payments that date back to 1 March 2020 and 1 April 2021 or that took place after 01 April but relevant to, connected with or involve same people, entities or contracts being investigated.”

Another proclamation signed by Ramaphosa on 1 April is Proclamation R9 of 2021, which focuses attention on the eThekwini Municipality.

“The investigation will look into the maladministration in the affairs of the municipality in respect of the alienation by or on behalf of the municipality of immovable property for the provision of housing through the
municipality’s human settlements infill housing programme, which alienation was contrary to manuals, policies or practices of the municipality,” said Kganyago.

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“The investigation will also focus on the transfer or sale of vacant properties by developers appointed by the municipality for purpose of the municipality’s human settlements infill housing programme in breach of the developers’ contractual obligations and contrary to the objectives of the municipality’s housing programme.”

All payments made by the municipality between 12 October 2012 and 1 April 2021 will be investigated.

The proclamations authorise the SIU to subpoena bank statement and cellphone records, search and seize evidence, and interrogate witnesses under oath in a quest to hold those responsible to account for their actions.

Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde 

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