'New SIU boss must be of utmost integrity'

Former National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli says it is vital that a person of the utmost integrity be appointed as boss of the SIU. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - Former National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli said it is vital for the future of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) that a person of the "utmost integrity" be appointed as its new boss.

Last weekend, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said President Jacob Zuma would finally appoint a permanent head to the unit, after leaving it with an acting boss for the last 13 months.

Last week, Pikoli said a fit and proper person must be appointed to head the SIU.

“A person to head such an institution should be a person of utmost integrity, a person who will be able to carry out the functions without fear or favour, and who shall do the work as expected."

But he said it did not matter if they belong or belonged to a political party, so long as they would be unbiased.

Pikoli also answered carefully when asked if he thought a person of the utmost integrity would be appointed.

Willem Heath resigned as head of the SIU in December 2011, just a few days after he told the City Press that former president Thabo Mbeki allegedly initiated rape and corruption charges against Zuma.

He further alleged the former president abused his position to avert some investigations into corrupt practices.

Radebe has not said exactly when the appointment will be made.