Zondo inquiry gets another R273m, but NPA is not so lucky
The NPA, alleged to have been politically influenced for a decade, has been largely under capacitated and underfunded
The Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture, has been allocated an extra R272.9m, while the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), which will soon be establishing a new special investigative directorate, gets no new money in the 2019 budget.
The inquiry has been extended to February 2020 and evidence emerging from the public hearings will be the focus of the NPA’s new directorate.
State capture and corruption have played major roles in crippling the economy and are estimated to have cost SA more than R100bn. The NPA, seen as politically influenced for a decade, has been largely undercapacitated and underfunded.
There are many vacancies, most of them in prosecutions roles. “Over the past couple of years SA has been grappling with corruption. We must root this out,” finance minister Tito Mboweni said in his budget speech on Wednesday.
Despite not allocating money to the NPA or the new investigating directorate, he said the Treasury and the department of justice and constitutional development would work swiftly to support the establishment of the new unit.
In his state of the nation address (Sona) earlier in February, President Cyril Ramaphosa said he would soon promulgate terms of reference for an investigating directorate in the office of the new national director of public prosecutions, Shamila Batohi.
This directorate will focus on evidence at the state-capture inquiry, other commissions and disciplinary inquiries. But it is not yet clear what powers the unit will have.
Setting up of the directorate is provided for in section 7 of the National Prosecuting Authority Act.
The Treasury, on the sidelines of the 2019 budget, said it would still have to engage with the NPA on skills needed for the unit, and whether those skills already existed in the prosecuting authority or elsewhere in the government.
Experts from the South African Police Service, the special investigating unit, and even the Treasury could be seconded to the special directorate. If the state does not have the capacity for the new directorate, it will have to look at employing people with the skills needed, the Treasury said.
This could be determined only when the president promulgated the terms of reference. It is not clear when he will.
As Ramaphosa’s announcement was made after the budget process no money was allocated for the directorate.
No additional money was allocated to the judicial commission of inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which is being led by retired judge Lex Mpati.
The PIC has been embroiled in many controversies, including allegations of corruption against four of its directors, among them deputy finance minister and PIC chair Mondli Gungubele.
According to the Budget Review, the commission is expected to submit its final report on April 15.