Home South African NPA asks for patience in dealing with state capture, corruption cases

NPA asks for patience in dealing with state capture, corruption cases

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The National Director of Public Prosecutions has denied that there is a crisis or leadership gap following the resignation of the head of the Investigating Directorate, Hermione Cronje

National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shamila Batohi. File picture

NATIONAL Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shamila Batohi has pleaded for patience from South Africans clamouring for those accused of corruption and state capture to be brought to book.

Batohi addressed the media on Monday on a range of issues in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) including the unexpected resignation of the head of the Investigating Directorate (ID), Hermione Cronje, who is scheduled to leave her office in March next year.

According to the NDPP, the NPA is not in crisis and there was no sabotage of the ID.

”There is no leadership gap,” Batohi insisted.

She said she and Cronje knew the interests of the country were important, as the ID was under considerable pressure to perform.

”There has been progress in the ID. We will never have all the resources we need. We need to prioritise. It’s a tough job in a tough environment,” Batohi said.

She said Cronje’s departure was not a sign of a crisis or collapse and she had played her part and helped to lay the foundation for the establishment of the ID in the two years and eight months she has been its head.

”Many cases are ready to be enrolled and every effort is being made to ensure that this happens,” Batohi said.

She added that it took time for any department to “break even”, as in the private sector, and the ID now had over 120 staff members and had moved into its new state-of-the-art building.

Batohi also warned the country that dealing with state capture corruption required additional, specialised capacity and that the NPA was committed to bringing it in.

She said she expected an avalanche of work from the commission of inquiry into state capture after its report is handed to President Cyril Ramaphosa next month.

Batohi said there would be heightened expectations that would need to be tempered as testifying before a commission was one thing while preparing a docket for a criminal trial was quite another matter.

“I can fully understand the impatience of the people of South Africa when it comes to prosecutions,” she said.

She said the ID was working closely with the Asset Forfeiture Unit to fast-track cases, attach properties and recover stolen money.

The ID has managed to enrol about 18 cases, of which 70% are criminal matters with the balance being asset forfeiture and recoveries, according to Batohi.

She said the ID secured an unlimited restraint order on assets of the controversial fugitive Gupta family through their company Islandsite Investments.

Batohi promised that the process to appoint the new head of the ID will be rigorous to ensure that the right person is appointed and will deliver.

The NPA has also been asked to come to the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on justice and correctional services on Wednesday to give more details on Cronje’s departure.

Political Bureau

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