Is NEHAWU running the SIU? - Debbie Schafer

DA MP says contract of acting head of Internal Integrity Unit, Roxanne Ferreira, not renewed

Is NEHAWU running the Special Investigating Unit? 

In the wake of the ongoing chaos at the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) yesterday issued a vitriolic press statement defending the staff purge that is obviously taking place at the SIU. 

The union also continues to defend the reinstatement of Head of Business Support Mizeria Nyathi, a woman who refused to take a polygraph test, as required by her contract of employment, and who claimed allowances for working hours far in excess of what she actually did. This surely amounts to fraud, hardly a characteristic compatible with the high-integrity environment required at the SIU. 

It is most concerning that NEHAWU fails to engage with this serious issue but instead tries to deflect attention from it with racist insults. 

After the DA last week exposed concerns that Adv. Bobby Walser was about to be suspended, he has apparently now merely been demoted, while remaining on the same salary. 

We have also learnt that the contract of the acting head of the Internal Integrity Unit, Roxanne Ferreira, will not be renewed, and that project manager Clint Oellerman has resigned. If NEHAWU thinks that this is indicative of a well-functioning institution, they are seriously mistaken.

It appears, however, that this is part of an ongoing campaign. Last year, NEHAWU made repeated calls for the removal of Willie Hofmeyr. They achieved this at the end of last year.

The DA understands that Mizeria Nyathi is very closely involved with NEHAWU and that, prior to and subsequent to her reinstatement, she was instrumental in the dissemination of internal NEHAWU correspondence making derogatory comments about the SIU.

It appears that Nyathi and acting head of the SIU, Nomvula Mokhatla, are driving the agenda of NEHAWU. They are prepared to lose competent and experienced people and defend the unacceptable behaviour of others under the misnomer of "transformation". It is an extremely dangerous situation when the independence of a unit as vital as the SIU is handed over to a trade union. 

The last time we checked, NEHAWU was not a part of the SIU nor was it responsible for fighting corruption in society. So why the heated attack on the DA for asking that a unit which is supposed to investigate fraud, corruption and maladministration maintains integrity within its own ranks? Who are they protecting, and why?

As the Justice Minister and the President have been largely silent on this issue, and thus appear to be condoning it, it is now time for Adv. Mokhatla to come and explain to the portfolio committee what exactly is going on. I will today write to the chairperson of the committee to request that he call Adv. Mokhatla to appear before us as a matter of urgency in order to answer these and other questions we have raised. 

Integrity needs to be restored to the SIU before it completely loses its legitimacy. It is the last remaining independent anti-corruption unit we have left.

Statement issued by Debbie Schafer MP, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, August 28 2012

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