The Democratic Alliance (DA) has learnt that the acting head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) Adv Mokhatla, has abandoned disciplinary proceedings against the head of the Unit in the Western Cape, Mike Leaser.
This decision was made after Mr Leaser had apparently already pleaded guilty to several charges, which related to dishonesty, including using his SIU vehicle for private use, and running his private business and passing it off as SIU business.
This follows recent revelations that the SIU's Head of Business, Miseria Nyathi, has been reinstated following a settlement between her and Adv Mokhatla.
Ms Nyathi was dismissed for refusing to undergo a polygraph test, which was a material term of her contract of employment. She was charged with various offences, including one relating to dishonesty. The disciplinary matter was never proceeded with, as she was dismissed for breach of the contractual provision. We also believe that the acting head obtained legal advice against reaching a settlement with Ms Nyathi, but she settled anyway.
The DA understands that in the cases of Ms Nyathi and Mr Leaser, Adv Mokhatla has alluded to "pressure from above", as the reasons for their reinstatement.
I shall be submitting further questions about this latest reinstatement, and will be asking that Adv Mokhatla appears before the Justice and Constitutional Development Portfolio Committee at the earliest opportunity to explain these actions.
It is simply unacceptable that a unit that investigates fraud and corruption is firstly being pressured by outside influences, and secondly that they are failing to take action against their own officials who are alleged to be involved in questionable activities.
A unit that investigates highly sensitive matters relating to corruption requires the utmost integrity. By failing to continue with the disciplinary action, the acting head is undermining the credibility of the unit.
It is extremely concerning that the SIU appears to be the latest victim of the ANC's obsession with ridding South Africa of any effective and independent corruption- busting institution. Whilst paying lip service to fighting corruption, the ANC is systematically bringing every effective, independent institution or arm of state under its control, or rendering it ineffective, to ensure that the criminal justice system can only be used to protect friends and persecute enemies, rather than act against crime without fear or favour. It has happened with the Scorpions. The courts have been under fire for some time now, and the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) and Police Chief have been loyal political deployees.
Since Willie Hofmeyr was removed as head of this unit, it is seemingly being rendered ineffective by an acting head who is too busy with her job as a Deputy NDPP, and who is too susceptible to political pressures. Unless action is taken urgently to stop this unacceptable trend, the SIU is at serious risk of going the same way as the Scorpions.