Parliament– The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services today had a briefing from the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on its annual performance plan and noted the risk highlighted by the organisation.
The committee heard that the SIU managed to receive an unqualified audit opinion from the Auditor-General. It, however, highlighted several risks by the SIU, including the non-implementation of SIU remedial actions by state institutions. The committee heard mitigating measures have now been put in place to ensure compliance. A memorandum of understanding with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was signed to ensure cases are referred to them and to ensure prosecutions follow. The parties have agreed to a framework with the NPA, agreeing to act in accordance. The committee heard of the referral of the reports to departments and institutions yesterday by President Cyril Ramaphosa, in an attempt to address this process.
The SIU says revenue collection remains a serious challenge with just over R310 million being generated from debt recovery for 2018. The SIU has thus, as a long-term plan, taken up the current composition of the funding model with executive authority, the National Treasury, with a view of revisiting it so that debt recovery risks can be mitigated. It further said this might require an amendment of the Act.
The committee further heard that due to the court roles, the SIU currently received court dates years in advance. Therefore, court cases on matters tend to drag on. The SIU informed the committee that it finally managed to get a date for the Nkandla court matter which will be before court in June 2019.
Committee Chairperson, MsMadipoaneRefiloeMoremadiMothapo, critically raised the question of irregular expenditure of R1.8 million in the 2017/18 financial year. The committee heard that this was due to historical contracts and that the SIU was in the process of regularising these contracts. These contracts refer to travel management, insurance for moveable assets and courier services. The SIU assured the committee that it has developed an action plan to clear the audit findings and is currently progressing positively against the end of financial year deadline.
The committee also received a briefing from the South African Board for Sheriffs (SABFS) on its annual report. SABFS also received a clean audit opinion and was commended for that. The SABFS told the committee about R60 million of unclaimed trust money was vested with the different sheriffs. The law governing this body has been amended to ensure that a special fund is created by the SABFS and to be utilised to the benefit of the public for services of the Small Claims Court. Qualifying members of the public will be spared the costs of the enforcement of the writ of execution by the sheriff, who will receive payment from the SABFS.
Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa