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'Zuma slow in appointing permanent SIU head'

Academics and other organisations question why Zuma is taking long to appoint a new SIU head.

ANC president Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - More questions are being raised over why President Jacob Zuma has refused to appoint a permanent head to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

Wednesday marked a year and a month since its last permanent head, Advocate Willem Heath resigned.

The unit has been working under an acting head since then.

Last Saturday, Zuma again pledged his support to fight corruption.

"We must continue supporting law enforcement agencies who fight corruption, including the Chapter Nine institutions."

But Zuma has been accused of being a failure in this regard.

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said, "What President Zuma wants is to protect himself and the ANC from efficient corruption investigators."

Zille also said the only motive that she could read from all the delays, is that the President is looking to hire someone that is so compromised that the SIU won't be able to follow through its investigations without fear or favour.

Corruption Watch head David Lewis said it was the President's own inaction that undermined anti-corruption measures.

"I can't help but believe that it makes the agencies less efficient, makes them potentially more malleable and pliable to pressure from the top."

He also said he has no idea what is causing the delay in the appointment.

Meanwhile corruption academic Hennie van Vuuren said the President's inaction was having a major impact on the fight against corruption.

"The element of uncertainty has a ripple effect on the staff and potentially on the morale of the organisation as well."

Van Vuuren said the President needs to make a decision sooner, rather than later, as his delay weakens the fight against corruption.

The Presidency has not responded to questions about why it was taking so long to make the appointment.

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