Eastern Cape welcomes SIU probe into municipal fraud at time of Mandela funeral

The Eastern Cape government has welcomed the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigation into allegations of fraud and corruption at several of the province's municipalities.

The charges are related to alleged maladministration during the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela. 

On Friday, the Presidency announced that President Cyril Ramaphosa had signed several proclamations for SIU investigations, including the one in the Eastern Cape.

The proclamation, which was signed on May 13 and gazetted on Friday, requires the SIU to investigate maladministration in the affairs of the Eastern Cape Department of Provincial Planning and Treasury and the Eastern Cape Development Corporation.

This is "in relation to the allocation of funds used for Mandela's and any related unauthorised, irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred by any of the institutions or the state". 

The municipalities of Buffalo City Metro, King Sabata Dalindyebo, OR Tambo and the Nelson Mandela Metro are also included in the investigation.

Eastern Cape Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Fikile Xasa said, in a statement released on Tuesday, that the investigations would provide an opportunity to all affected individuals to come forward and clear their names. 

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He called for the effective coordination of efforts to expose and prosecute those involved. 

"We must bring closure to this matter, especially as it takes place in the year in which we celebrate the centenary of Nelson Mandela. All wrongdoers must face the full might of the law without fear or favour. Acts of corruption, collusion and other criminal activities in the private and public sector, must be fought with equal diligence and determination," said Xasa.

According to Xasa, communities had started to take up the fight against fraud and corruption through protest actions against lack of service delivery.

"We call on our leaders to distance themselves from any forms of maladministration by taking charge of community complaints and stop waiting for outside help," he said. 

"We encourage municipal leadership to implement, without fail, the recommendations of forensic investigations that have been undertaken in their municipalities. Government is taking a dim view of the non-implementation of such recommendations by municipalities, which appears to be a trend," he said.

Xasa said the fight against fraud and corruption remained an important priority if government was to provide sustainable services to communities.

Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Athol Trollip has also welcomed the investigation, asking that the R8.18bn of irregular expenditure incurred by the previous government, noted in the AG's 2016/17 report, be the focus of this investigation.