SIU investigation will take three-four years to complete SABC probe

06 September 2017 - 15:56 By Bianca Capazorio
SABC in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.
SABC in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.
Image: Waldo Swiegers. (C) Sunday Times.

The Special Investigating Unit‚ which has just started a wide-ranging probe into maladministration at the SABC‚ takes an average of three to four years to complete an investigation‚ Parliament has heard.

Head of the unit Andy Mothibi told Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts on Wednesday "we need to improve on our turnaround times. Some investigations are four or five years old."

But he said‚ increasing turnaround times should not mean that quality suffered.

He said to improve turnaround times‚ proclamations were being made narrower and more specific‚ and in events where investigations took longer than a year‚ interim reports were being issued.

Mothibi said the unit would like to become "the state's preferred and trusted forensic investigation and litigation agency"‚ but he said many state departments and entities currently used private investigative firms to conduct investigations‚ and only approached the SIU with these reports after they were finalised.

The SIU has received 81 proclamations since 2009. Only 29 final reports have been submitted to the Presidency for proclamations published since April 2009 with many of these reports taking three or four years to complete.

A further 21 final reports are currently being prepared and the SIU hopes to submit these by the end of this financial year. Among them is an investigation into the national and provincial departments of social development‚ the original proclamation of which was made in 2005‚ and an investigation into the South African Social Security Agency‚ originally proclaimed in 2010.

Investigations are still ongoing in 27 proclamations - the oldest of which is a Department of Water Affairs investigation dating back to 2012.

This list also includes high profile investigations into the Life Esidemeni tragedy in which more than 100 patients in Gauteng mental health facilities died‚ and the SABC investigation.

The SABC investigation‚ which officially got underway on Monday‚ would be a wide-ranging one‚ looking into maladministration‚ and several questionable contracts.

Mothibi said the Life Esidemeni investigation had commenced "about a week or two ago" and the unit had already met with the Gauteng MEC for health and the ombudsman.