A Special Investigating Unit (SIU) project manager has been placed on suspension after he was allegedly found to be illegally in possession of crayfish and copper steenbras in Mdumbi on the Wild Coast.
The official, identified as Hein Hechter, based in the SIU’s Mthatha office in the Eastern Cape, has already paid an admission of guilt fine for the transgression.
SIU spokesperson, Advocate Mahlodi Muofhe said: “By paying an admission of guilt fine, in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act whether at the police station or any local authority, Mr Hechter is thus deemed to have been convicted and sentenced by the court of law in relation to his violation of the law”.
Muofhe said SIU head, Advocate Andy Mothibi, was alerted to Hechter’s misconduct last week and directed that action be taken immediately against him.
Advocate Mothibi has urged members of the community to assist institutions created such as the SIU by blowing the whistle where they see or detect any corruptive and criminal activities committed by officials who are meant to be the protectors of society and its resources in particular in this instance, marine ones.
He added that it was at times difficult to detect misconduct timeously and criminal acts were committed by officials during working hours. It was for this reason the SIU was urging the public to assist in dealing promptly with such cases.
“We are inextricably bounded to one another as a society and whistle blowing against corruption should be on our lips at all the time,” said Muofhe.
The SIU said its officials were without exception expected to be women and men whose integrity remains beyond reproach, adding that this was the case with most SIU staff.
“We cannot investigate maladministration and corruption committed by non-SIU officials in government, state owned enterprises and other institutions with some of our officials themselves failing the supreme test of integrity and transgress the law,” he said.
Advocate Mothibi views the offence of illegal fishing seriously, as the depletion of fish stocks through illegal activities threaten not only food security but also the extinction of some fish species which are already in decline. - SAnews.gov.za