NPA Further Enhances Efforts To Ensure Effective Handling And Prosecution Of TRC Cases
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has taken an important step to further enhance its efforts to deal with and prosecute cases stemming from the Truth andReconciliation Commission (TRC). Over the last couple of years, the NPA has focused on reopening and pursuing priority cases, and enhancing its internal capacity andprocesses both to ensure effective handling of these cases and to prevent any undue political influence. 64 new cases have been registered for investigation. 25 prosecutors and 40 investigators have been appointed within the various divisions to deal specifically with TRC matters. A detailed overview of these measures was presented to Parliament in November 2022.
As part of this effort, the NPA has appointed Adv D Ntsebeza SC to review the measures that have been adopted to deal with and prosecute TRC matters and to provide recommendations as needed. This is in line with the remarks made by the Full Bench in Rodrigues v National Director of Public Prosecutions of South Africa and Others 76755/2018)(2019) in the South Gauteng High Court in 2019 where the court held:
“It is also for these reasons that the conduct of the relevant officials and others outside the NPA at the time should be brought to the attention of the National Director of Public Prosecutions for her consideration and in particular, to consider whether any action in terms of Section 41(1) of the NPA Act is warranted. Finally, there must be a public assurance from both the Executive and the NPA that the kind of political interference that occurred in the TRC cases will never occur again. In this regard they should indicate the measures, including checks and balances, which will be put in place to prevent a recurrence of these unacceptable breaches of the Constitution.”
The Senior Counsel will conduct a thorough assessment and make recommendations, if necessary, to strengthen the NPA’s handling of TRC cases. Further, if Counsel finds evidence or information that could amount to a violation of Section 41(1) of the NPA Act, such issues will be escalated to the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) to take forward as appropriate. If necessary, the NPA will refer relevant matters for criminal investigation.
Senior Counsel has three months to finalise his report and recommendations. The NPA will provide the necessary support to ensure that this timeline is kept andrelevant interventions and improvements are implemented without delay.
The NPA has engaged with the Executive as appropriate on this matter. The Executive is expected to release its own statement in due course, as per the remarks by the Court highlighted above.
Adv Mthunzi Mhaga