Cosatu, SACP want new SIU head

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe has been called by Cosatu and SACP to urgently appoint a new SIU head.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe has been called by Cosatu and the SACP to urgently appoint a new SIU head. Picture: Sapa

JOHANNESBURG - Both the SCAP and Cosatu say it is vital for the country that President Jacob Zuma urgently appoint a permanent head to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

Last week the Presidency failed to fulfil a promise by Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, that an appointment would be made by the end of February.

The unit has now been without a permanent head since Willem Heath resigned in December 2011.

Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi wants action. He said "fourteen months without a head gets any institution into a paralysis stage."

Vavi also said society will begin to "bleed" because the organisation's functions are crucial.

The general secretary said the minister spoke of all the work being done, but he (Vavi) was puzzled as to the non-existence of an appointment.

The South African Communist Party's second deputy general secretary, Solly Mapaila, also said an urgent appointment was needed.

"It is critical that such positions are filled and that it is done with the urgency that it deserves."

He said although the party understood the complexity of such an appointment, it was no excuse to postpone it for so long.

"We do understand the long wait, but we also feel that it should not be an unnecessarily long wait."

Mapaila added that the SACP did not however believe the unit had stopped functioning properly without a permanent head.