The Special Investigations Unit follows a 10-step process to complete its work.

FILE: The Special Investigation Unit (SIU) carries out its work in 10 steps. Photo: © rawpixel/

JOHANNESBURG – Corruption is a word that has almost become synonymous with South Africa due to a flurry of flagrant allegations in recent times.

The case led to the creation of a commission of inquiry into state capture, which sought to uncover allegations of bribery in the public sector, including government agencies.

The commission has since released a series of reports that are said to have cost taxpayers an estimated R1 billion.

But South Africans remain reluctant to report corruption because of the state’s systematic weakness in whistleblower protection.

One government agency, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), deals with corruption allegations.

SIU does its work in 10 steps.


  1. Allegations are made by whistleblowers, a government agency or any entity suspected of corruption or fraud involving a contract or contracts.

  2. The SIU registers the charge.

  3. The SIU then determines the appropriateness and scope of the investigation.

  4. The SIR writes and prepares a statement of inquiry. The declaration is then sent to the office of the Secretary of Justice and Correctional Services, who initiates an investigation and forwards the declaration to the President for his signature. The president does not assign the SIU to investigate, but signs declarations holding the SIU accountable.

  5. After the president signs the declaration, the SIU begins planning an investigation.

  6. Once the investigation is complete, the unit takes corrective action. The SIU also exercises its powers to initiate civil proceedings either in a special tribunal or in the High Court to prevent or compensate for financial loss suffered by the State.

  7. The SIU passes evidence of criminal conduct uncovered during an investigation to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for prosecution. Arrests and prosecutions are outside the purview of the SIU.

  8. The SIU prepares a final report to be submitted to the President with an overview of the investigation and its findings, as well as various recommendations and their findings.

  9. The SIU then evaluates the investigation and develops prevention strategies to reduce the risk of corruption reoccurring in the unit or agency under investigation.

  10. The SIU also oversees corrective actions such as arrests, court cases and consequence management.


Tuesday marks one year since Gauteng Department of Health Chief Financial Accounts Officer and whistleblower Babita Deakaran was murdered.

She opened various corruption investigations, including the department’s 300 million rand tender for personal protective equipment (PPE) against COVID-19.

Deakaran also raised the alarm over questionable payments to various contractors from Tembisa Hospital amounting to R850 million.

PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMOPHOSA Vows To Protect Whistleblowers

Shortly after Deokaran’s death, President Cyril Ramaphosa promised that whistleblowers “will be protected and will not suffer persecution or prejudice.”

He said the fight against corruption in South Africa is gaining momentum, “we urgently need to review our current approach not only to witness protection but also to whistleblower protection more broadly”.

“While there are many systems in place that allow whistleblowers to report wrongdoing anonymously, we need to strengthen existing systems and provide greater support for those who come forward with information,” the president said.

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