SIU given powers to investigate alleged abuse of Mandela funeral funds
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) will investigate the alleged abuse of public funds around the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela.
In the proclamation signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa‚ the SIU has been asked to investigate the Eastern Cape Treasury Department‚ the Eastern Cape department of safety and liaison‚ the Eastern Cape Development Corporation‚ the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency‚ Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality‚ King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipality‚ OR Tambo District Municipality and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality.
In the schedule to the proclamation‚ the SIU is ordered to investigate maladministration in the Eastern Cape Treasury and the provincial development agency in relation to the allocation of funds that were used for the funeral.
It should also investigate any unrelated unauthorised‚ irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
The SIU was also asked to investigate the procurement of‚ or contracting of goods‚ works or services by the institutions in relation to the funeral and payments that were made in a manner that was not fair‚ competitive or conducted through the improper intervention of officials or employees of the institutions.
In December last year‚ Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane released a report on an investigation into allegations of misappropriation of funds in preparations around the funeral in December 2013.
The Public Protector found that the development agency had improperly diverted R300m of public funds to use for the funeral.
The Public Protector also found that provincial treasury irregularly transferred R250 000 into the personal bank account of Premier Phumulo Masualle‚ who was MEC for provincial planning and treasury in 2013.
She also found that the municipalities incurred irregular expenditure in procuring goods for the funeral.
In her remedial action‚ the Public Protector said the national finance minister must request the president to issue a proclamation to investigate the unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money.
The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) welcomed the proclamation and said it was a step in the right direction in uncovering corruption.
“Our view is that municipalities have for a long time been left to be breeding grounds for corrupt activities with no consequences for those involved while on the other hand hampering service delivery and disadvantaging citizens‚” Samwu said.