President Jacob Zuma has announced the appointment of Willem Heath as head of the Special Investigating Unit, dropping Willie Hofmeyr.
President Jacob Zuma announced on Tuesday the appointment of advocate Willem Heath as the new head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
“The appointment will ease the pressure on Mr Willie Hofmeyr, the deputy national director of public prosecutions, who has headed the SIU in conjunction with his role as head of the Asset Forfeiture Unit [AFU],” Zuma said in a statement.
“The president has been aware of the great work Willie Hofmeyr has done in leading the SIU and leading the fight against corruption. He’s done some really great work,” presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj told the Mail & Guardian.
“The president decided on this strategic restructuring to further step up the fight against corruption.”
“We have been looking at our capacity now and how to take it to a higher level and therefore this is a strategic restructuring,” he said.
Heath was appointed with immediate effect. Hofmeyr would retain his position at the AFU.
“Under the leadership of Mr Hofmeyr the two units have made a significant contribution in the fight against crime. It has now become necessary to further strengthen our capacity by placing each of these two units under separate commands,” said Zuma.
Heath was previously head of the SIU, when he was a judge in the Eastern Cape High Court.
He resigned the position as a result of a Constitutional Court ruling in 2000 which found that the appointment of a judge as head of the SIU was unconstitutional.
He resigned as a judge in 2001, said Zuma.
Heath currently serves as an adviser to Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe and is the CEO of Heath Forensic Investigations.
“We are also happy to welcome Mr Heath back to the SIU,” said Zuma.
Heath told the M&G: “I’m very excited about it and I have the assurance that the president is supporting that and the request comes from him and therefore I think it will be a success.
“It’s going to be difficult because he’s [Hofmeyr] a very hard worker so I would obviously have to be dedicated as well and have to live up to that standard. I wasn’t expecting the announcement to be made today,” he said.—Sapa