[LISTEN] SIU report uncovers land reform scam

A report by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has revealed how 148 land reform projects between 2011 and 2017 have been flagged for suspicious or fraudulent activity.

The report recommends that 42 people, including government officials, be prosecuted for fraud and corruption linked to the land reform programmes.

The report was recently uncovered by BusinessDay after it submitted a Promotion to Access to Information Application (PAIA).

Some of the findings include instances of corruption occurring in Kwazulu-Natal. According to the Business Day, in many cases, thousands of alleged beneficiaries were not aware of the project and had never been to their farms.

Karima Brown spoke to specialist reporter and Journalist at Tiso Blackstar Karyn Maughan to find out more.

In one instance, one of the department officials involved in a land reform project put the names of his family members forward as beneficiaries.

Karyn Maughan, Specialist reporter and Journalist at Tiso Blackstar

The report finds that 25% of the land reform projects that they analysed over the seven year period show signs of fraud and corruption, so one in four projects.

Karyn Maughan, Specialist reporter and Journalist at Tiso Blackstar

In an extraordinary measure by SIU, they have annexed to that report, this list of issues that they believe are systemic problems within the land reform process.

Karyn Maughan, Specialist reporter and Journalist at Tiso Blackstar

Acting Director General in the department of Rural Development and Land Reform, Rendani Sadiki, says the report was prepared for the president in March 2018.

Sadiki says the department has been conducting disciplinary hearings and most officials have been axed.

We have got officials that are in jail as we speak. We are very hard on fraud and corruption. Most of them are already fired. We have got one that is convicted that is serving jail time.

Rendani Sadiki, Acting Director General in the department of Rural Development and Land Reform

What the report is saying is needed has already been implemented.

Rendani Sadiki, Acting Director General in the department of Rural Development and Land Reform

We have got a record of the land that has been received through the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

Rendani Sadiki, Acting Director General in the department of Rural Development and Land Reform

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