President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to look into the affairs of Umgeni Water.

The KwaZulu-Natal water utility is the second largest water board in the country, with an annual turnover of more than R2.4 billion and a five-year capital expenditure budget of more than R7 billion.

The entity has been plagued by allegations of corruption, including reports of a R220 million security tender that was awarded to a company with political connections among other things.

The SIU, according to the Presidency, has been authorised to investigate allegations of unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure and loss incurred by the board or the State as a result of matters including the provision or upgrading of emergency boreholes in uMkhanyakude District Municipality.

This is in addition to the repair or refurbishment of Nagle Aqueducts; the replacement of filter slabs, pipelines and nozzles in terms of the Contract Participation Goal Programme of Umgeni, as well as the provision or upgrading of chlorine distribution equipment, the distribution of chlorine and the upgrading of shaft pumps and lifts at the Durban Heights Plant.

The SIU will also investigate allegations of serious irregularities in relation to the procurement of goods and/or services in a manner that was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective contrary to the applicable legal framework.

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