Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has told the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to up its game in the state’s crusade against corruption.
Lamola said the unit’s work was of immense importance to the nation, adding South Africans were worn out by tales of corruption in government circles, and that in some instances, the public’s criticisms were justified.
“It is within this context that we welcome the operationalisation of the Special Tribunal. It is also encouraging that its first case deals with the Office of the State Attorney,” Lamola said.
“If one considers the importance of the State Attorney to our national fiscus, this case is an important development in our anti-corruption jurisprudence. It also shows that the SIU is not afraid to start within the justice family, this proves that charity truly begins at home.”
Lamola said damning revelations emerged about the Department of Correctional Services at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, and the SIU had long finalised its investigation and submitted its report.
“Yet, no action was taken against any person as a result of this either.” The justice minister pointed out that the ANC’s recent lekgotla had emphasised that this is the year of implementation.
“In law enforcement, which is where you find yourselves, this should also be the year of action. Your investigations are not meant to gather dust in offices of high-ranking officials, they are meant to help citizens to have faith in the rule of law.”
Moreover, the effect of corruption in communities was rife for all to see, Lamola said.
“We are confronted by enormous challenges as a country, including creating a capable government that is responsive to the needs and aspirations of its citizens.”
He said the SIU should jealously guard its professional integrity because those who have benefited from corruption would not go down without a fight.
“We now have a Special Tribunal in place and there is no doubt that you will be judged not only by the number of cases you refer to the tribunal but also by the number of referrals which actually result in wins for the State,” he said.