How data analytics is helping the SIU fight corruption in SA

  • South Africa’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) is working to add data analytics to its corruption-busting repertoire.
  • Through new partnerships, it says it will now study risk management systems of public institutions and integrate data analytics and predictive analysis into its efforts to find maladministration.
  • The SIU now needs as much data as possible, so it calls on institutions to cooperate in order to beat corruption in South Africa.

One of South Africa’s busiest government agencies, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), is tasked to investigate allegations of corruption in public organisations, and get the money back. On Tuesday, the unit announced that it has signed a deal with two firms to use more data analytics to root out fraudulent public spending.

According to a statement from the SIU, the unit has established agreements with the anti-corruption arm of the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) as well as Germany’s main international development agency, the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Together, the companies with the SIU are set to “join forces in preventing corruption through data analytics.”

How will this work? The SIU’s head, Advocate Andy Mothibi, detailed during the signing ceremony that the partnerships will help the unit embark on a new wave of statistical research efforts into the risk management systems of institutions and more.

The SIU will use technology, advice, and capacity building from and with the help of the partners to integrate data analytics and predictive analysis into studying the books of government institutions, in order to find the numbers that just don’t match up.

“The SIU must direct strategic decision-making processes and drive prevention activities through data analysis. This will provide the SIU with a competitive market advantage and long-term sustainability,” explained Mothibi.

He added that an important part of this plan was to have meaningful access to as many data sources as possible. To accomplish this, the SIU has called on “all sectors to participate in the fight against corruption and encourages collaboration between government, the private sector and civil society as one of the fundamentals of the strategy.”

The unit will leverage the partnerships to make sure that anti-corruption tools at its disposal are digitally and empirically advanced, and will also publish information it gleans in the future to help others in sniffing out maladministration.

As of 2024, the SIU is investigating allegations of corruption at Home Affairs, PRASA, local provincial governments, aiding government institutions like NSFAS to right its long list of wrongs and more.


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