National Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Shamila Batohi. Picture: ALON SKUY
National Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Shamila Batohi. Picture: ALON SKUY

I refer to your timely article, which thoroughly interrogates the ability of our new national director of public prosecutions to revive the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) (Cover Story, March 14-20). You correctly focus on the need for independent anticorruption state machinery that has the structure and operational capacity to escape the hegemonic ambitions of those who govern at the political level.

The antics and inertia described in the article illustrate how the Hawks (as investigators) and the NPA (as prosecutors) constitute twin structures that have not been — and will never be — fit for countering grand corruption, state capture and kleptocracy in SA.

As long ago as 2011, the Constitutional Court identified what is required: freedom from executive control and interference; guaranteed and adequate resourcing; and a specialised mandate and security of tenure for properly trained corruption busters. The Hawks have none of these; the NPA has only some.

Unless and until all the political parties get serious about implementing these simple criteria, the country will continue to slide towards the heart of darkness.

This bleak trajectory is a political issue — one that voters should not tolerate.

Everyone should insist that a best-practice solution to the problem be put in place by the incoming parliament. A single, independent and secure elite unit of specialists who enjoy the Chapter 9 level of security and report to parliament — not the executive — should urgently be established to prevent, combat, investigate and prosecute the scourge of grand corruption.

Voters must insist that the parties they support are committed to the radical reform required on a proper reading of the binding court precedent known as Glenister 2. Countering corruption is a core issue for sensible voters.

Paul Hoffman SC
Director, Accountability Now

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