President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed Proclamation R147 of 2024 authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate allegations of serious maladministration in the affairs of the Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency (ECRDA).
The SIU is also authorised to recover any financial losses suffered by the State and ECDRA.
“Proclamation R147 of 2024 authorises the SIU to probe the procurement and/or contracting for goods, works or services concerning a tender for the planning and design of the Marine Tilapia Industry Incubator Project within the Mbhashe Local Municipality, by or on behalf of the ECRDA,” said the SIU in a statement.
It will also investigate any unauthorised, irregular, or fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred by ECRDA or the State.
The scope of the investigation also covers any unlawful or improper conduct by officials or employees of ECRDA, the applicable suppliers or service providers or any other person or entity.
The Proclamation covers allegations of unlawful and improper conduct that took place between 1 February 2020 and 26 January 2024, the date of the publication of the Proclamation or before 1 February 2020 and after the date of the Proclamation that are relevant to, connected with, incidental to the matters or involves the same persons, entities or contracts investigated.
In addition to investigating maladministration, malpractice, corruption and fraud, the SIU said it would identify system failures and make systematic recommendations to improve measures to prevent future losses.
“In line with the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996 (SIU Act), the SIU will refer any evidence pointing to criminal conduct it uncovers during its investigations to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for further action,” it said.
The SIU is empowered by the SIU Act to institute civil action in the High Court or a Special Tribunal in its name to correct any wrongdoing uncovered during its investigation caused by acts of corruption, fraud or maladministration.
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is expected to investigate allegations of serious maladministration at the Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency (ECRDA).
This after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a proclamation authorising the unit to delve into the affairs of the agency.
SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the unit will also look to recover any financial losses that the state may have incurred.
“Proclamation R147 of 2024 authorises the SIU to probe the procurement and/or contracting for goods, works or services concerning a tender for the planning and design of the Marine Tilapia Industry Incubator Project within the Mbhashe Local Municipality, by or on behalf of the ECRDA.
“The SIU will also investigate any unauthorised, irregular, or fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred by ECRDA or the State. The scope of the investigation also covers any unlawful or improper conduct by officials or employees of ECRDA, the applicable suppliers or service providers or any other person or entity,” he explained.
The proclamation allows the unit to probe allegations over the period between February 2020 and 26 January 2024.
“In addition to investigating maladministration, malpractice, corruption and fraud, the SIU will identify system failures and make systematic recommendations to improve measures to prevent future losses.
“In line with the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996 (SIU Act), the SIU will refer any evidence pointing to criminal conduct it uncovers during its investigations to the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA] for further action.
“The SIU is empowered by the SIU Act to institute civil action in the High Court or a Special Tribunal in its name to correct any wrongdoing uncovered during its investigation caused by acts of corruption, fraud, or maladministration,” Kganyago said.
The Department of Justice and Correctional Services has condemned protestors’ attempts to forcefully enter the Groblersdal Magistrate’s Court premises and their brandishing of the colonial era Vierkleur flag.
The court was hearing a case against two men – Piet Groenewald and his son Stephen Greef – who allegedly assaulted one of their workers whom they accused of being drunk on duty.
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said: “We applaud the [SA Police Service] for swiftly arresting all the protesters that attempted to block or enter the Court forcefully. This has restored the dignity of the Court and sends a message that our courts cannot be a playground for lawlessness.”
The department described the display of the Vierkleur flag by the protestors as deeply troubling as “it evokes memories of a time when discrimination and inequality prevailed”.
The flag features three horizontal red, white and blue stripes with a vertical green stripe at the hoist.
“We have noted, with concern, images in the media of a group of protestors brandishing the Vierkleur flag. The Vierkleur is a flag that was used by the old Boer Republic of the Transvaal which existed in the 2nd half of the 19th century until the Boers defeat in the Anglo-Boer War.
“The Vierkleur flag, is a symbol that represents a bygone era of colonisation and aparthied. This flag holds historical significance, but it also carries connotations of a time when black people were denied their basic rights.
“In August 2019 the Equality Court…ruled that the display of the old apartheid flag constitutes hate speech in South Africa. The Court held that the Constitutional Court has time and again emphasised the importance of historical context when considering human dignity, especially the history of racialized inequality in South Africa,” the department said.
The matter is expected to be referred to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
“By brandishing the Vierkleur flag, individuals are openly rejecting the core values of democracy, equality, and the Constitution. This act is reminiscent of the old apartheid flag and cannot be tolerated.
“The Ministry firmly denounces the waving of this flag and will take decisive measures to ensure that the [SAHRC] thoroughly examines this matter,” the department concluded.
International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, said she was of the view that Israel was flouting Friday’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling to stop the killings in Gaza.
“I do believe the rulings of the court have been ignored by Israel. Hundreds of people have been killed in the past three or four days. And clearly, Israel believes it has the licence to do as it wishes. So, the world has to reflect because we have to come to a point to say what do we do to stop such acts occurring, not just with Israel but any party in the world,” Pandor said on Wednesday.
The Minister was briefing the media on a range of issues including the ongoing Israeli “offensive” on Gaza in the wake of the recent ICJ ruling.
The ICJ ordered Israel to, among others, take all measures within its power “to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide” and to immediately ensure that Palestinians have access to basic services and humanitarian assistance.
Pandor said she believes that the findings made it clear that it was “plausible” that genocide was taking place against the Palestinian people in Gaza.
While South Africa had called for the suspension of Israeli military operations in Gaza, the court did not grant this provisional measure.
However, Pandor said the ICJ’s decision marks a decisive victory for international law and a significant milestone in the search for justice for the Palestinian people.
“It also affirms the importance of global governance institutions, including organs of the United Nations. It remains vital for all Member States to respect and implement the decisions of the court.”
South Africa had approached the ICJ to garner not only a ceasefire of Israel’s military barrage of Palestine but also to ask the court to find the Israeli government guilty of committing acts of genocide.
“And I suppose what confronts us now is what do we do if there is no implementation? And that is the question all nations must answer today because it is a body of the United Nations that has set out these provisional measures. It’s not the South African government… And if its orders are not respected, what does this mean for every other government that commits atrocities against a people.”
She is of the view that this is the big question that faces the global community.
Citing Oxfam’s report, the Minister said figures indicate that the average daily killing of Palestinians by the Israeli military since 7 October 2023 surpasses the daily death toll of any major conflict in recent years.
“The deaths of children are almost incomparable both in terms of actual numbers killed and the rate at which children have been killed. More journalists have been killed in Gaza in the last 100 days than were killed during World War II and the Vietnam War.”
Pandor said South Africa will continue to do everything within its power to preserve the existence of the Palestinian people as a group, and to end all acts of apartheid and genocide against the Palestinian people.
“We will walk with them towards the realisation of their collective right to self-determination, for, as Nelson Mandela momentously declared, ‘Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians’.”
“The UN peace and security architecture is clearly not able to give effect to the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people or to protect them from grave war crimes and the threat of genocide, necessitating concerned States to turn to the judicial institutions of the UN.”
Pandor also took the time to welcome the support expressed by several countries.
“We encourage States that are so inclined to approach the Court to intervene in the proceedings to send a strong message to the international community that the situation in the Gaza Strip is indefensible.”
Thursday, February 1, 2024
The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mosotho Moepya, is at the Zonderwater Correctional Services in Cullinan, east of Pretoria today, to oversee the inmates’ voter registration process.
The visit by the Chairperson forms part of the Electoral Commission’s voter registration drive for inmates.
The commission set aside the dates 30 January to 1 February 2024 for inmates’ registration ahead of the 2024 National and Provincial Elections.
“The Electoral Commission has worked closely with the Department of Correctional Services since 1999 to provide voter registration and voting opportunities for inmates in line with the Constitutional right extended to inmates to vote,” the Electoral Commission said in a statement.
The commission reiterated its call for all eligible inmates to participate in the upcoming elections by updating their voter registration details or register as voters.
The commission had earlier urged families of inmates to deliver identity documents (ID) to correctional centres.
It said it acknowledged that many offenders do not keep ID documents in their possession and it is for this reason family members are requested to make the necessary arrangements by delivering any of the following forms of identification: green-barcoded ID, smartcard ID or temporary identification certificate (TIC) to correctional facilities.
The Department of Correctional Services indicated that it would put all necessary measures in place to ensure that IDs are kept safe.
Home Affairs offices will be open for an extra two hours on Friday, 02 February 2024, from 16:00 to 18:00 for citizens to collect their IDS.
Offices will then be open for nine hours on Saturday and Sunday from 08h00 to 17h00 for South Africans to collect their IDs.
This in support of the Electoral Commission’s second Voter Registration Weekend in preparation for the general elections of the National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures.
The Department of Home Affairs said in a statement that services to be offered are application and collection of IDs and applications for Temporary Identification Certificates (TICs). TICs cost R70 and are issued on the spot.
“With these documents, eligible voters will be able to register for the 2024 national and provincial elections,” said the department.
Clients can now book collection appointments before visiting Home Affairs offices, using the Branch Appointment Booking System (BABS) which is available at www.dha.gov.za through the link: BABS.
Alternatively, clients can simply visit the offices without making a booking.
Home Affairs Deputy Minister Njabulo Nzuza said: “We want to assist those who need an ID to participate in the voter registration an opportunity to come and collect their documents.
“We particularly encourage young people to come to our offices from Friday afternoon and over the weekend to come and apply or collect their documents.
“We encourage clients who have applied for identification documents and have been waiting for three weeks or more, to seize this opportunity by visiting their Home Affairs office to collect these critical documents.”