The SIU has pounced on a Western Cape municipality.
- The SIU arrived at the Cederberg Municipality, Western Cape, with a search and seizure warrant in line with the presidential proclamation to investigate PPE procurement.
- The unit’s first attempt was blocked last week ostensibly because the unit did not have a warrant, or a copy of the proclamation with them.
- The SIU said it is working within the ambit of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s proclamation and did not need a warrant.
The Special investigating Unit (SIU) descended on the Cederberg Municipality in the Western Cape on Monday with a search and seizure warrant as it extends its personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement probe.
SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the unit went in to seize documents.
This development is related to a probe of the Matzikama Municipality’s spending on PPE during the Covid-19 pandemic, and to see whether proper procedures were followed.
Investigators were following a possible link between three companies it has flagged in the Matzikama investigation, to the ANC-run Cederberg Municipality, leading to Monday’s actions.
Kganyago said he could not reveal the companies’ names and the amounts concerned were not available yet as the documents had to be examined first.
He said that the action was in line with Proclamation R23 of 2020, which does not require a warrant for document seizures. However, after the SIU was blocked last week it obtained a warrant and returned on Monday.
The Proclamation deals with alleged intentional misspending or loss of public money.
In a statement issued by the ANC in the Western Cape, the party said ANC Mayor Sylvia Qunta supports Ramaphosa’s power to declare a proclamation, but took issue with the SIU’s attempt to attach laptops and private cellphones without a proclamation or a warrant.
The statement said:
This kind of conduct is unacceptable, and the courts will be approached to review where appropriate. The Cederberg Municipality has conducted procurement of PPE and food parcels in accordance with its recognised prescripts and policies and will assist the SIU in its investigation.
It added: “The SIU must act with respect and treat staff members with dignity. The Municipality has nothing to hide and will continue to assist the SIU in its investigations as long as these investigations are done lawfully with due regard for constitutional rights.”
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