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'Vas Soni's resignation not a shock'

The SIU head, appointed after the unit spent 18 months without a boss, has resigned from his post.

FILE: Corruption Watch head David Lewis says there's been so much instability in the country's corruption fighting institutions that news of Special Investigating Unit (SIU) head advocate Vas Soni's resignation is not a shock. Picture: M&G

JOHANNESBURG - Corruption Watch head David Lewis says there's been so much instability in the country's corruption fighting institutions that news of Special Investigating Unit (SIU) head advocate Vas Soni's resignation is not a shock.

Soni has confirmed he's stepping down to care for his ailing wife.

He was head of the unit for just 18 months and was appointed after it had been left without a boss for a year and a half.

Lewis says it's hard to understand why political leaders allow this instability in organisations like the SIU, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Hawks.

"They are actually not responsible for orchestrating the instability, they have to take responsibility for it, and the state is responsible for nothing if not the safety of its citizens."

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac's) Lawson Naidoo says it's an unhealthy situation.

"The only people that can benefit from this are those speaking to a broader account of corruption and wrongdoing under our law."

Meanwhile, the outgoing SIU head says there was no pressure for him to resign and he has stepped down purely for personal reasons.

Soni announced on Monday he would be leaving his position because his wife is not well.

His resignation comes in the midst of the suspensions of the Hawks boss and the South African Revenue Service's deputy commissioner.

Soni says this is just a coincidence.

"Before I made my decision it just became clear to me that the coincidences would be put together and people would draw lines and try and link them. I can state unequivocally that the only reason I resigned is my wife."

Soni headed the unit while it investigated the allegedly inflated fees charged by contractors working on President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead in Kwazulu-Natal.