SIU probes graft and corruption in Limpopo

The treasury has called on the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to begin probing some of the damning evidence unearthed by central government’s intervention force in Limpopo.

A letter of understanding was issued by Lungisa Fuzile, the treasury director general, on January 24, paving the way for the investigators to begin their work.

Fuzile confirmed the letter to the Mail & Guardian, but said the treasury was “not in a position to comment on the investigation”. He referred the M&G to the SIU, which was not prepared to comment.

This is the first time treasury has commissioned the SIU to investigate irregularities in the province. It follows a decision by the Cabinet on December 8 last year to effectively take over the cash-strapped Limpopo government and bring five of its 11 departments under administration.

Within weeks of the books being opened, the province was declared bankrupt and a trail of maladministration and gross abuse of public funds uncovered.

Considerable overlap

It is expected that there will be considerable overlap between the SIU investigation instigated by treasury and the probes that are already under way into the financial affairs and business dealings of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema who, together with his friend and political ally Premier Cassel Mathale, is highly influential in the province.

The two have been linked to a string of companies that have been trading off the public purse for a number of years. Last year the M&G revealed how On-Point Engineering, part-owned by Malema, had secured a programme management contract at the provincial transport department through which tenders were doled out to friends and party cronies, as well as to business partners of Mathale.

The M&G later exposed attempts on Malema’s part to pressurise staff at the local health department to pay out on multimillion-rand contracts that were being investigated for fraud. Both men have also built impressive property portfolios and lived lavish lifestyles that eventually demanded scrutiny.

The SIU has not been given a deadline to complete the latest probe and it is too early to predict what consequences, if any, its findings might have.

However, in a recent radio interview, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said “there certainly will be consequences if there is wrongdoing, including putting people through the necessary disciplinary processes or criminal processes”.

It first had to be established “whether the evidence really strongly and decisively takes us in that particular direction”.

Gordhan is due to brief the National Council of Provinces on the intervention and its progress in Parliament on Thursday.

* Got a tip-off for us about this story? Email [email protected]

The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit initiative to develop investigative journalism in the public interest, produced this story. All views are ours. See for all our stories, activities and sources of funding.

Subscribe to the M&G for R2 a month

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

And for this weekend only, you can become a subscriber by paying just R2 a month for your first three months.

Fiona Forde
Fiona Forde works from Parktown South Africa . Writer and Political Risk Analyst

Related stories

‘Let ANC deal with its leaders facing corruption charges,’ Ramaphosa tells parliament

The president was answering questions before parliament, where he also told the EFF to allow the courts to decide on the matter of the CR17 bank statements

Mabuza asked to account for why ministers were seated next to Malema in Senekal

MPs can’t seem to stop the house from degenerating into screaming matches, even during virtual sittings, as exhibited when the deputy president answered questions in the NCOP on Wednesday.

EFF eyes municipalities ahead of 2021 local government elections

EFF leader Julius Malema says the party is preparing to govern in many municipalities from next year. It is also launching a programme to defend the rights of farm workers

EFF assault case postponed

The case of assault against EFF leader Julius Malema and member of Parliament Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has been postponed because the court in Randburg did not allow the media to broadcast the case

Clicks-bait: EFF MP’s new parole probe

Kenny Motsamai, a parolee who is also an EFF MP, could be sent back to jail if correctional services finds he violated his parole conditions

EFF on a collision course with dissident black women

The party’s response to journalists and those who speak against them reveal a consistent pattern of misogyny

Subscribers only

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

Q&A Sessions: ‘I think I was born way before my...

The chief executive of the Estate Agency Affairs Board and the deputy chair of the SABC board, shares her take on retrenchments at the public broadcaster and reveals why she hates horror movies

More top stories

DRC: Tshisekedi and Kabila fall out

The country’s governing coalition is under strain, which could lead to even more acrimony ahead

Editorial: Crocodile tears from the coalface

Pumping limited resources into a project that is predominantly meant to extend dirty coal energy in South Africa is not what local communities and the climate needs.

Klipgat residents left high and dry

Flushing toilets were installed in backyards in the North West, but they can’t be used because the sewage has nowhere to go

Nehawu leaders are ‘betraying us’

The accusation by a branch of the union comes after it withdrew from a parliamentary process

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…