The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has been authorised – through Presidential proclamation – to launch a probe into allegations of serious maladministration in the affairs of the Free State Department of Public Works and Infrastructure and Human Settlements, the Free State Provincial Legislature and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport.
The SIU said in the Free State investigation, the unit will probe the procurement of, or contracting for goods and services in relation to the Ramkraal Project by the provincial legislature.
“The SIU will also investigate payments made in a manner that was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective; or contrary to applicable legislation, and any related unauthorised, irregular, or fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred by the State.
“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,” the unit said.
In relation to the provincial KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport, the investigation will focus on the construction of the Mngwenya River, Umlalazi River, Mhlathuze and Phethu River bridges.
“The proclamation covers allegations of unlawful and improper conduct that took place between 01 June 2016 and 23 February 2024, the date of the publication of the Proclamation or before 01 June 2016 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,” the SIU said.
The corruption busting unit said the scope of the investigation will cover any allegations of:
- serious maladministration in connection with the affairs of the State institutions being investigated.
- improper or unlawful conduct by employees of the state institutions.
- 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.
- offence referred to in Part 1 to 4, of Chapter 2 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 2004, and which offences were committed in connection with the affairs of the state institutions.
- unlawful or improper conduct by any person which has caused or may cause serious harm to the interests of the public.
“In line with the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996, the SIU will refer any evidence pointing to criminal conduct it uncovers during its investigations to the National Prosecuting Authority 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,” the SIU said.
Gauteng Education MEC, Matome Chiloane has condemned an incident at a school in Ekurhuleni where a teacher was allegedly found in possession of drugs on school premises.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Gauteng Department of Education said the incident took place on 14 February 2024 at the Thoko Thaba Secondary School.
According to the department’s reports, the educator was allegedly found with a bag and box of drugs inside school premises.
Police were called in and the teacher was arrested. He appeared in court on Thursday, 15 February 2024.
MEC Chiloane said it is also concerning that this matter was not reported to the Department by the School Management Team (SMT) in a timely manner, which led to a planned protest by the community on Wednesday.
The department has launched an investigation, and the educator has been removed from the school as a precaution.
“We are disappointed about this incident, and vehemently condemn such conduct and we will be acting against it accordingly. We also plead with the community to allow this matter to be handled by the department and relevant law enforcement authorities for appropriate resolution,” Chiloane said.
Two suspects have each been sentenced to 60 years in prison on several charges, including two counts of attempted murder, murder and the possession of illicit firearms.
The two, Sakhiwo Khala (42) and Siyabulela Mcelu (37) were sentenced in the Khayelitsha Regional Court in the Western Cape on Monday.
According to the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks), the sentences emanate from a 2015 incident where an SBV cash vehicle arrived at Nolungile Railway Station in Khayelitsha.
It is alleged that when SBV crew members came back from collecting the money they were attacked and shot by three unknown suspects.
The crew returned fire and one suspect was fatally wounded during the ordeal and two other suspects were wounded but fled the scene on foot.
The suspects were charged for fatally wounding one of their own co- suspects. The crew members also sustained injuries during the shootout. The wounded suspects were traced and arrested.
The two were found guilty of the counts on 08 November 2023.
The accused were sentenced as follows:
Count 1: Attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances, sentenced to 12 years imprisonment each.
Count 2: Attempted murder, sentenced to six years imprisonment each.
Count 3: Attempted murder, sentenced to six years imprisonment each.
Count 4: Murder, sentenced to 22 years imprisonment each.
Count 5: Possession of illicit firearms, sentenced to 12 years imprisonment each.
Count 6: Unlawful possession of ammunition, sentenced to two years imprisonment each.
The court ordered that counts 1,2,3 ,5 and 6 run concurrently with count 4.
Effectively each accused will serve 22 years direct imprisonment.
In terms of Section 103 (1) and (2) of the Firearms Control Act, Act 60 of 2000, both accused were declared unfit to possess a firearm.
The Provincial Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation in the Western Cape Major General Mathipa Makgato commended the team and was delighted that justice has been served.
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has welcomed a Special Tribunal judgement declaring the R113.2 million Gauteng Department of Health personal protective equipment contract awarded to private company LNG as invalid and unlawful.
The company has also been ordered to repay the profits earned from the tender.
The SIU had applied to the Special Tribunal to have the contract scrapped following an investigation into the affairs of the department.
“On 24 April 2020, the then Chief Financial Officer of Gauteng health department took a decision to procure 500 000 N95 masks at R55,50 each, 1 000 000 three-ply surgical masks at R18.00 each and 250,000 boxes of 100 sterile, powder-free surgical gloves at R270 per box.
“An SIU investigation in the affairs of Gauteng health department has found that [a] competitive bidding process was not followed and deviation from this process was not duly approved, and the contracted prices were high.
“Furthermore, the SIU found that LNG was not registered on the government’s Central Supplier Database for the supply of PPE [personal protective equipment] when it was awarded the multimillion-rand contract,” the unit said.
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has completed 90% of the second phase in its three-phased National Lotteries Commission (NLC) investigation.
The unit said in a statement on Wednesday the investigation in its totality is worth approximately R1.4 billion which the state and the NLC have allegedly lost due to corruption at the organisation.
The value of each phase is:
• Phase 1 – R279 710 409.
• Phase 2 -R246 659 310.
• Phase 3 – R905 901.910.04
The SIU appeared before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on Wednesday to give an update on the investigation. In the presentation, SIU revealed new investigation findings.
One of the findings is related to award-winning actress, Moiteri Pheto, who unduly benefitted once again from the NLC grant funding.
The NLC approved grant funding of R5 million to Zibisibix Non-Profit Company for a chicken farm in December 2018. After receiving the R5 million, money moved from the account and the following payments were made:
• Black Planet Trading (Director: Thula Sindi) of an amount of R140 000.00
• Tsoseletso (Director: Moitheri Pheto) – R253 000.00
• Pheto Safe and Cleaning (Director: Dimakatso Pheto) – R124 000.00
• Sunguti projects (Director: Moitheri Pheto) – R2 800 000.00
• Moitheri Pheto’s personal bank account – R182 000.00
• Dimakatso Pheto (Moitheri’s sister) – R315 500.00
• Vehicle dealership- R252 400
• Agricultural Supplies- R209 500
The farm was purchased for R850 000, and the SIU found that the former chairperson of the NLC board Professor Alfred Nevhutanda signed the offer to purchase the farm in the Vaal area.
“Furthermore, the evidence that SIU gathered revealed that the farm was purchased for the benefit of Dimakatso Pheto. The case has been referred for civil litigation for recovery and criminal referrals are being prepared,” it said.
The SIU also presented to Parliament how the South African Youth Movement (SAYM) applied for grant funding on behalf of the Presley Chweneyagae Foundation, which belong to award winning actor, Presley Chweneyagae.
The main purpose of the application was for the Take Back the Future Musical, Documentary and Poetry Arts programme. The NLC approved a grant funding of an amount of R15 million.
From the R15 million, R2 999 967.00 was transferred to Iron Bridge Travelling Agency and Events in August 2016. Iron Bridge Travelling Agency and Events is owned by the former NLC Chief Operating Officer, Phillemon Letwaba’s wife, Rebotile Malomane.
In May 2017, a further R950 190.00 was transferred to VNMM Consulting Engineers CC. VNMM Consulting Engineers is owned by Prof Nevhutanda’s son-in-law, Meshack Makhubela. On 25 May 2017, an amount of R500 000 with a reference plot purchase was transferred to conveyancing attorneys.
From the balance of R 450 190, Prof Nevhutanda received R100 000 for a bus purchase and a further R60 000 for a funeral and debit orders for a car finance account.
The SIU investigation revealed how a non-profit organisation (NPO) was hijacked and funds that were meant to uplift poor women in Marikana and the surrounding areas in the North West province on a chicken farming project were misused.
The application was adjudicated and the grant funding for the value of R13 million was awarded to an NPO and was to be paid in two tranches of R7 million and R6 million. In November 2020, the hijacked NPO made an application for additional funding and received a further R3.5 million.
The SIU’s investigation revealed that a shelf company named Silverlite Trading bought the land in Marikana for this project for R400 000. Advocate William Huma, a former NLC board member is the current sole director of Silverlight.
The SIU went on a site visit and found that the farm was well-built and completed. The chicken farm contains a workers’ house, guard house, egg packaging and storehouse and chicken egg production house and there is a borehole.
However, since the chicken farm is not in operation. It is being vandalised, and some of the electric cables and solar panels were stolen from the farm.
The SIU has so far made eight criminal referrals to the National Prosecuting Unit and 11 disciplinary referrals to NLC officials.
The SIU was, in terms of Proclamation R32 of 2020, authorised by President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration in the affairs of NLC and the conduct of NLC officials and to recover any financial losses suffered by the State.
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.
Police in Mbuzini, Mpumalanga, have opened an investigation following the discovery of a human skull next to a graveyard and railway line on 13 February 2024.
While performing their duties, police received information from the community about a human skull found at Hhoyi Trust next to Mbuzini.
The police responded and upon arrival found the skull on the ground. Other relevant stakeholders were summoned to the scene. An inquest has been opened.
“Currently, police are working hard to get the identity of the person whose skull belongs to, hence any member of the public with information that may assist in achieving this goal may go to the nearest Police Station or call the Crime Stop number at 08600 10111,” said the police in the statement.
Alternatively, members of the public can send information via My SAPS App.
All received information will be treated as confidential and callers may opt to remain anonymous.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) Northern Cape Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Koliswa Otola has welcomed the eight year sentence handed down to a 45-year-old for possession of child pornographic material.
This as the De Aar Regional Court sentenced John Henry Meiring on Wednesday.
Lieutenant-General Otola commended Lieutenant Colonel Marli Strydom for her relentless efforts that led to the arrest of the accused on 22 February 2022 and for the conviction and sentencing.
The South African Police Service, Serial and Electronic Crime Investigations (SECI), a specialised unit within Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) in the Northern Cape, discovered that the accused was in possession of pornographic images of children.
The accused’s cell phone and hard drives were seized for investigation purposes. During the analysis of the exhibits, 773 pornographic images of children were found on the devices.
Addressing crimes against women, children and vulnerable persons remains a top priority for the SAPS in the province.
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has welcomed the arrest and appearance in court of two former Eskom officials on charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering.
The two employees, Thandi Magagula and Nontuthubo Mahweliri, were employed at the Hendrina Power Station and were arrested by the Hawks last week and have appeared in different courts.
“The court appearance is part of the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption strategy by law enforcement agencies to strengthen its fight against corruption, especially when such crimes are committed by state employees in positions of trust to deliver services for the benefit of the public and the economy, but instead, steal from the most vulnerable to enrich themselves and fund their opulent lifestyles,” the SIU said.
Magagula allegedly conducted business with the electricity supplier while employed there.
“An SIU investigation revealed that Magagula held a private investment in a company called Montoza Engineering. Montoza Engineering had one or more contracts with Eskom and according to Eskom records during the period of approximately October 2015 to November 2015, had rendered services and provided work or goods to Eskom to the value of approximately R58 888.76.
“Magagula as an employee of Eskom was not supposed to conduct any business with the entity as this is against Eskom’s policy on conflict of interest,” the SIU said.
She also underwent a disciplinary hearing at Eskom, was found guilty and was given a seven-day suspension.
Mahweliri also allegedly operated under the same modus operandi.
“The investigation by the SIU found that Mahweliri failed to declare that she is a member of a company called NKG Trading investments, which had a contract with Eskom and failed to apply for permission to perform private work. Her company received payments to the value of R1 082 884 for the period 2017 and 2018.
“The SIU also referred Mahweliri for disciplinary action. Eskom held a hearing, and she was found guilty of all charges of misconduct and suspended for 7 days without pay,” the SIU said.
Both cases were postponed and they are expected to appear in the Middelburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court.
Over 1 000 suspects have been nabbed in the North West under Operation Shanela, which was conducted between Thursday and Sunday.
The suspects were arrested for rape, murder, assault grievous bodily harm, malicious damage to property, burglary residential and business premises, theft of motor vehicle and theft out of/from motor vehicle, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Of the 1 009 arrested suspects, 248 were wanted for contact crimes including murder, attempted murder, rape, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, assault common, house robbery and business robbery.
Also, 20 undocumented persons were taken in for processing.
The arrests were made through the execution of several actions, which included stop and searches, roadblocks, vehicle checkpoints, inspection of licensed liquor premises, second-hand goods dealers, tracing of wanted suspects.
The operation also resulted in the confiscation of 170 cell phones, seven unlicensed firearms, drugs such as crack cocaine, crystal meth, nyaope, seven rounds of ammunition, liquor and dangerous weapons.
The provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, commended the police officers, who worked with other law enforcement agencies, including the Traffic Department and Home Affairs, for the successes recorded in the operations.
The Department of Correctional Services is conducting a widespread search operation to locate and apprehend Clatta Gumbo, an offender who escaped on Monday.
Department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said Gumbo – who is serving a life sentence for rape, kidnapping and assault – escaped from the grounds of Mamelodi Regional Hospital.
“He was escorted to the hospital for a consultation with a dietician when he attacked the guarding official, disarmed him and escaped from the hospital premises.
“Immediate action has been taken to initiate a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the escape,” Nxumalo said.
Members of the public are asked to report any sightings of the escaped convict.
“Correctional Services is appealing to anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the escapee to contact the nearest correctional facility or police station. Crucially, we encourage members of the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities.
“Public safety is our utmost priority and every effort is being made to effect the rearrest of Gumbo,” Nxumalo said.