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Friday, 21 July 2023 13:46

SIU considering legal options following Telkom court decision.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) says it is considering its legal options following a High Court judgement which declared the unit's authorisation to investigate the affairs of Telkom invalid.

The unit was authorised through a proclamation by President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate allegations of "serious maladministration, malpractice, and possible corruption" in the affairs of the telecommunications company.

Telkom on Thursday said that the Presidential Proclamation 49, which was issued on January 25, 2022, giving the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) authority to investigate Telkom, has been set aside by the Pretoria High Court.

Pretoria High Court Judge J Thlapi, delivering the judgment on July 19, declared the Proclamation unconstitutional, invalid and of no force or effect and awarded costs to Telkom.

This followed Telkom's remedial action arising from its own previous investigations into certain of the issues named in the Proclamation, including launching of legal proceedings where appropriate.

The SIU says it has studied the judgment and is considering legal options available to it to clarify what constitutes a state institution. The judgment has considered the question of what constitutes a State Institution.

"In terms of the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 0f 1996, the SIU is empowered to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration in the affairs of state institutions like government departments, municipalities, and state-owned entities; to recover financial losses suffered by the state and prevent further losses," the unit said.

The SIU added that clarification is needed by the courts to thrash out what a state institution is.

Currently, government directly holds a 40.5% shareholding in Telkom with a further 15.3% shareholding through the Public Investment Corporation.

Telkom Group CEO Serame Taukobong said in a statement on Thursday, approaching the courts, Telkom confirmed its commitment to good governance.

"Telkom approached the courts because it is of the view that left unchallenged, the proclamation would set a dangerous precedence on the role of the State in private enterprise.

Telkom consistently upholds the principles of good corporate governance. It is unfortunate that Telkom needed to approach the courts on this matter and we hope that this judgment brings it to finality," Taukobong concluded.