/ 25 August 2017

Zuma finally signs SIU proclamation for probe into SABC

James Aguma with Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
James Aguma with Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

President Jacob Zuma has finally signed a proclamation that will allow the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate the “questionable contracts” at the SABC.

On Friday, the Presidency released a statement saying that Zuma had authorised the SIU to investigate “certain matters in respect of procurement” at the SABC, in terms of section 2 (2) of the Special Investigating Unit and Special Tribunals Act, 1996.

The Proclamation authorises the SIU to investigate the following allegations:

– The procurement of, or contracting for goods, works or services by or on behalf of the SABC from various companies or service providers and payment made in respect thereof in a manner that was not fair, transparent, competitive and equitable or cost effective;

– Any undisclosed or unauthorised interest that certain members of the personnel of the SABC may have had with regard to contractors, suppliers or service providers who submitted bids for work or did business with the SABC; or contractors awarded by or on behalf of the SABC;

The Proclamation further authorises the SIU to investigate allegations of:

– Serious maladministration in connection with the affairs of the SABC;

– Improper or unlawful conduct by board members, officials or employees of the SABC;

– Unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money or property;

– Unlawful, irregular or unapproved acquisitive act, transaction, measure or practice having a bearing upon State property;

– Intentional or negligent loss of public money or damage to public property;

– Unlawful or improper conduct by any person, which has caused or may cause serious harm to the interests of the public or any category thereof.

On July 3, the EFF called on Zuma to sign this proclamation.

‘Questionable contracts’

At the time, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, EFF MP and national spokesperson, said Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) had heard from SIU head advocate Lekhoa Mothibi that Zuma had not signed the proclamation for the SIU to begin with the SABC investigation, even though it had been ready to begin with its investigation since May.

Earlier this year, the National Assembly adopted a report by the ad hoc committee that investigated the SABC board. It laid bare widespread mismanagement at the public broadcaster, including what it termed “questionable contracts”. These included the SABC’s deals with MultiChoice and the Guptas’ The New Age.

The DA welcomed Zuma’s signing of the proclamation.

“It is unfortunate that the President took so long to sign the proclamation, and appears only to have done so today (Friday), given that he would have been forced to answer for the delay during Oral Questions to the President next week,” said DA spokesperson on communications Phumzile van Damme in a statement.

“Although three months late, President Jacob Zuma’s signing of the proclamation means that the SIU can now finally begin to do the work that will reveal the true extent of corruption, maladministration and unlawful conduct at the SABC likely implicating former Communications Minister Faith Muthambi; former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng; former SABC CEO James Aguma and indeed, the Gupta family.”

She encouraged the SIU to conduct its work speedily and without fear or favour. – News24