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Zuma due to make SIU appointment

President Jacob Zuma is due to appoint a new Special Investigating Unit head in just four days.

President Jacob Zuma is due to appoint a new Special Investigating Unit head by the end of February 2013. Picture: Elmond Jiyane

JOHANNESBURG - The Special Investigating Unit's (SIU) former head Advocate Willem Heath has told Eyewitness News the unit needs a tough person who can deal with friction.

In January, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said President Jacob Zuma would make the appointment by the end of February this year.

The unit has been without a permanent head for over a year and two months.

Heath stepped down for a second time in December 2011 after he appeared to claim that former President Thabo Mbeki was responsible for Zuma being charged with rape and corruption charges.

He first resigned from the post in 2001.

Heath said the unit needed a leader willing to give it direction.

"A very strong person with substantial experience as far as civil litigation is concerned, and of course a substantial background as far as investigations are concerned."

And he claims the unit has not been working properly for 10 years.

He said when compared to the number of cases they have in a day, their undertakings are nominal.

Former National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli has also said it is vital for the future of the unit that a person of the "utmost integrity" be appointed as its new boss.

He also said a person who will be able to carry out the functions without fear or favour was needed.

The Presidency has offered no explanation as to why it has taken so long to make an appointment.

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