Parliament, Tuesday, 30 June 2020 – The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services today raised serious concerns regarding the extent of corruption and fraud being investigated by the Special Investing Unit (SIU) within the Department of Justice, its entities and service providers. The committee today received a progress report on SIU investigations into matters referred to it by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
The committee heard that the SIU investigation into the construction of the Limpopo High Court found that over R6 billion has been spent to date, approximately 100% more than the initial budget of R3 billion, but only four courts have been built of the eight planned for. A site inspection revealed poor workmanship and low-quality building materials used in the construction. Doors and windows are improperly aligned or damaged; frequent electrical outages result in lifts being out of service; and a poor drainage system results in flooding.
The SIU told the committee it will continue to investigate the extent of officials’ involvement in the matter, including officials at the Independent Development Trust (IDT), an entity of the Department of Public Works.
Committee Chairperson Mr Bulelani Magwanishe said although the committee is pleased with the SIU’s progress on many matters, it remains concerned by the extent of the corruption uncovered. “Corruption by officers of the court is a serious attack on the justice system. We must do whatever it takes to bring these individuals to book. We cannot accept that the building of courts went 100% over its budget.”
Regarding the SIU investigation into the Masters Office, the committee was informed that the SIU has identified 15 possible disciplinary referrals (one referral made against a senior official) and 15 possible criminal referrals to the National Prosecuting Authority.
The committee was also concerned about payments to intermediaries. One intermediary had invoiced for more than R123 million over a three-year period for services rendered to the Office of State Attorneys. The SIU told the committee this fee could still increase as, apart from the Johannesburg office, State Attorney offices in other parts of the country are still using the services of this intermediary. Several duplicate payments have also been discovered.
Regarding the investigation into medico-legal claims, the committee heard that in 2018 the Office of the Premier in Gauteng entered into a secondment agreement with the SIU for the investigation of 58 files amounting to R89.8 million.
“We will continue to monitor and keep these matters on our radar. The cleaning up of the justice system goes hand in hand with cleaning up of our society,” said Chairperson Magwanishe.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, MR BULELANI MAGWANISHE.
For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the committee’s Media Officer:
Name: Rajaa Azzakani (Ms)
Tel: 021 403 8437
Cell: 081 703 9542
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