The City of Cape Town’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) which embattled mayor Patricia de Lille ordered be shut down in August last year ― a move which resulted in serious claims being made against her and which marked the surfacing of a continuous slew of allegations ― has been reinstated.
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On Wednesday, the National Council of Provinces accepted a motion to see that the unit got back on its feet.
It noted the reinstatement of the SIU, which a motion without notice said “has achieved a number of successes and tackled numerous issues facing the city, including dealing with gang violence, taxi violence, housing fraud, land invasions, corruption and licencing fraud…
“The reinstatement of the Special Investigation Unit is a step in the right direction towards helping the SAPS fight crime.”
It said the House welcomed the reinstatement, which was “a win for the people of Cape Town,” and commended councillors who voted to revive it.
The City of Cape Town’s SIU is under the leadership of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety, security and social services, JP Smith, who does not see eye-to-eye with De Lille.
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In August last year, De Lille instructed that the SIU be shut down and later said: “Alderman Smith used the SIU contrary to the purpose that it was created for. Moreover, he acted with the intent to undermine his political opponents and this amounts to a serious abuse for his own political gain.”
Her shutdown of the unit resulted in serious claims about her being exposed.
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Members of the unit had, for about four years, been involved in high-level probes, some involving other international law enforcement agencies, which was changed in August after De Lille instructed that it be shut down.
On Wednesday, Smith said the SIU was an example of the City helping to tackle crime.
“I am very happy that, after it was decommissioned by the Mayor on 4 August last year (2017), that the SIU can now be fully operational again and continue to do the good work that they have been doing,” he said.
Smith said Cape Town residents needed to be put first.
“That means doing everything possible to deal with crime, gangsterism and the problems that affect our residents,” he said.
“Whilst we cannot fix the problems within the national police service or the criminal justice system that continues to fail our people daily, we can try and fix some of the problems with our limited resources and legal powers.”
Speaking on the murder of City of Cape Town law enforcement officer Ben Koopman, who was killed in Eerste River in February 2016, Smith said it was partly due to the efforts of SIU members that Koopman’s murderer was brought to justice.
On Tuesday, a member of the Dixie Boys gang, Christopher Jantjies, was convicted of his murder. Jantjies has since been sentenced to life in prison. ― News24