Statement from the Board of Umgeni Water Concerning Media Coverage about Investigation to be Conducted by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) at Umgeni Water

Stakeholders are probably aware by now about media reports stating that His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa has issued a proclamation, authorising the Special Investigating Unit to conduct an investigation into certain matters at Umgeni Water.

Information in possession of the Board of Umgeni Water and obtained from these media reports indicates that the SIU investigation will focus on possible “unauthorised, irregular, fruitless or wasteful expenditure” loss incurred by the Board or the State pertaining to various matters. The media reports appear to originate from a statement that was issued by the Presidency and at this stage the contents of these reports represent the full extent of information available to the Board.

It has since been established following inquiries made with the Presidency that the full Presidential proclamation pertaining to the SIU investigation will be published in the next edition of the Government Gazette. Once this occurs and more information becomes available, the Board of Umgeni Water will issue a comprehensive statement.

As you may recall, during the difficult period that was experienced in 2017, following  numerous anonymous allegations of misdemeanor and serious wrongdoing, the Board gave an undertaking that it would share information with stakeholders as and when it became available. The Board has fulfilled that commitment. This communique has also been issued in the spirit of transparency and provision of pertinent details which, the Board hopes, will obviate the need to rely on less-informed intermediaries for information.

The Board wishes to state emphatically and without hesitation that when the investigation gets underway, the SIU will receive full co-operation from Umgeni Water. It is important that independent statutory agencies that report to Parliament and the President, such as the SIU, receive required support to enable them to conduct their work without hindrance and also bring to finality matters under scrutiny. We must not forget that the SIU is crucial to ensuring that resources allocated to or in possession of public entities are utilised for the intended purpose and in line with their mandate to create a better life for all.

Ms Ziphozethu Gabsie Mathenjwa

Chairperson: Board of Umgeni Water