New NPA directorate will need funding, says Glynnis Breytenbach
Former state prosecutor says inadequate funding will make the body ineffective in its fight against corruption
Former senior state prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach said the signing of the proclamation meant to establish an investigating directorate in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will not amount to much if inadequate funds are put in place for its operations.
Bulelwa Makeke, the NPA’s head of communications, on Thursday said the prosecuting authority was finalising the establishment of the directorate and would in due course announce the investigating director and how the structure will be constituted.
Finance minister Tito Mboweni did not allocate money for the directorate in the 2019-20 budget, and merely said the Treasury and the department of justice would work swiftly to support its establishment.
Breytenbach said the directorate was required to investigate racketeering, corruption and fraud on an unprecedented scale and that t such investigations were not only labour intensive, but also very expensive.
She said it would be essential to outsource functions such as forensic auditing, cyber-forensic capability as well as deep knowledge of tax and financial matters, which costs a “tremendous amount of money”.’
Vast budget needed
“It will be quite impossible to investigate the information coming out of the Zondo commission, the Nugent commission and the Mpati commission without a vast budget,” Breytenbach said.
Lawson Naidoo, from the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac), welcomed the move. He said as the directorate now legally exists, it would enable National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi to put it together.
In terms of the funding, Naidoo said the Criminal Assets Recovery Account (CARA), which is a separate account within the National Revenue Fund (NRF), into which monies and property are deposited following a judicial forfeiture or confiscation order, could be used to fund it.
He said the directorate would fall within the perimeters of what the funds in the account could be used for.
President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the proclamation to officially establish the directorate early this week.
The presidency has described signing the proclamation as intensifying the government’s campaign against corruption and state capture. Ramaphosa announced during his state of the nation address earlier in 2019 that the directorate would be established.
The fight against corruption and restoring the integrity of the NPA have been key priorities for Ramaphosa since he took office in February 2018 after his predecessor Jacob Zuma was forced to resign.
Zuma is at the heart of allegations of state capture together with his son Duduzane and his friends, the controversial Gupta family.
There have however been no prosecutions as allegations of state capture mounted over the past few years, and the NPA has been seen as being politically influenced for more than a decade.
The new directorate’s scope is broad but will, among others, look at offences which have arisen out of the commissions of inquiry into state capture, the SA Revenue Service and the Public Investment Corporation.
According to the proclamation, the directorate will also be able to take on other serious, high profile or complex corruption cases referred to it by Batohi.
Batohi, who was appointed by Ramaphosa, took up the office in February and recommended in her interview for the post that an investigating directorate be established.
The directorate will also deal with various common law offences such as fraud, theft and statutory offences which arise out of a number of laws.