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Special Investigating Unit to Shine Light on Water and Sanitation

August 2, 2021

The Presidency

The water and sanitation department has been referred to the Special Investigating Unit for investigation.

Proclamation 33 was published in Government Gazette 44899 in terms of the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act.

The procurement of, contracting and implementation of Information Technology is to come under the spotlight.

Any unlawful or improper conduct by officials or employees of the department; directors, employees or agents of applicable service providers or any other person or entity also falls within the scope of the investigation.

The investigation will focus on the period between 1 January 2012 and the date of publication of the proclamation.

Meanwhile, parliament, in a statement, pointed out that the Committee for Section 194 Enquiry has indicated its preference to adopt a “hybrid” approach for conducting the inquiry into the fitness to hold office by the Public Protector.

According to parliament, this means that the process will be led by members of the committee.

The committee was set up by the national assembly (NA) on 16 March 2021 to conduct a constitutional inquiry into the fitness to hold office of Public Protector Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

The committee chairperson, Qubudile Dyantyi, indicated that the “process is Member-led but with added external forensic support to assist the committee in unpacking the evidence. In this hybrid scenario, the role played by the external support will be more limited than compared to that of an evidence leader”.

The Public Protector will also be afforded the right to be heard in her own defence and to be assisted by a legal practitioner or other expert, who however may not participate in the committee.

The plan is for the Committee to conclude its work in January 2022.

In another statement, parliament notes the judgment of the Western Cape High Court on the NA’s Rules for removing heads of Institutions Supporting Constitutional Democracy.

The court dismissed the Public Protector’s application for an order declaring “unlawful, unconstitutional, invalid and null and void the New Rules governing the process in the NA for motions for the removal of office bearers of Chapter 9 institutions”.

However, the court had adverse findings “regarding the inclusion of a judge on the independent panel and the right of the holder of such office to legal representation at the Section 194 enquiry stage of the process”.