The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services has welcomed progress made by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) in terms of the investigations into the department and its three entities.

“We are happy that out of most of the investigations, referrals were made already to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for criminal and civil proceedings and to the Assets Forfeiture Unit (AFU) in some cases. Other cases were referred to entities for disciplinary proceedings,” says committee chairperson Mmamoloko Kubayi.

She adds that the committee’s concern was that the investigations could negatively impact on service delivery. Entities under investigated are: South African Post Office (SAPO), State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and, Universal Services and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA). The then Department of Communications was also probed regarding advertising tender involving Media Corner.

Investigations were sanctioned by President Jacob Zuma in various proclamations including R5 of 2014 amended by R50 of 2014, which was issued to investigate SAPO; R10 of 2014, which was issued to investigate Media Corner; R48 of 2012, which was issued to investigate SITA; R62 of 2014, which was issued to investigate the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) and R20 of 2014, which was issued to investigate USAASA.

At the same time, acting head of SIU, Advocate Gerhard Visagie explained to the committee that the unit did not have legal powers to prosecute, but it worked closely with the NPA in order to ensure prosecutions.

Although the investigations were sanctioned by a presidential proclamation and the unit was required to report back to the president, the committee is satisfied with the work done so far and looking forward to further engagements on outstanding matters after due presidential processes were concluded.

Meanwhile, the committee was briefed by the Ikamva National eSkills Institute (INeSI) on the update regarding the status of the merger of three institutions. The three institutions are National Electronic and Media Institute of South Africa (NEMISA), e-Skills Institute (e-SI) and Space and Software Applications (ISSA).