NPA Welcomes The President’s Response To Zondo Reports

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) welcomes the announcements by President Ramaphosa in his response to the State Capture Commission recommendations. His response highlights the importance of strengthening the NPA as a key part of South Africa’s broader response to complex corruption. They reflect the outcome of collective inputs made by criminal justice partners into the preparation of the report, as well as views expressed by civil society actors.

The President announced a number of measures designed to prevent a recurrence of state capture. This is crucial. Ending impunity and holding those responsible for state capture-related wrongdoing to account is vital to restoring the rule of law in South Africa. However, if we want to ensure a better life for all, equally important is to put in place measures which minimise the risk of South Africans ever again facing the calamity of state capture.

In particular, the President’s response emphasises three elements that are fundamental to the work of the NPA and the safeguarding of the rule of law in our country.

First, the decision to establish the Investigating Directorate (ID) as a permanent entity within the NPA, and to strengthen its capabilities with the provision of the requisite criminal investigatory powers, will enable the ID to adopt a fully-fledged multi-disciplinary, prosecution-led investigation model. The ID will be able to apply this model in relation to its mandate on complex corruption.

This has proven to be the most effective method in the past, and there is no reason why we cannot do it again. A permanent and empowered ID, with full investigative powers and the appropriate budget, will also allow the ID to recruit and retain the quality and breadth of the required specialised expertise, and to build this expertise given the long-term nature of some of the cases. This additional expertise includes forensic investigators, data analysts and cyber experts.  The implementation of these measures will require legislative amendments and we hope that this process will be expedited.

Second, as we know from hours of testimony before the State Capture Commission, the NPA’s independence was seriously compromised, impeding its effectiveness and eroding public trust. We are making important strides in future-proofing the NPA. The commitment to introduce greater transparency and public consultation in the selection and appointment of the National Director of Public Prosecutions, is in line with international best practice and will strengthen the independence of the NPA. We also welcome the commitment to settle the issues relating to the NPA’s financial and administrative independence. An NPA enjoying both de facto and de jure independence will serve as a bulwark for an invigorated and permanent ID with its own investigative capacity.

Third, fighting crime and corruption in particular requires a community coming together and working collectively. As part of its bold and innovative endeavours, the NPA is partnering with various sectors, including business to strengthen its capabilities and capacities to be more effective and efficient. The independence of the NPA will be jealously protected, and processes and systems have been put in place to ensure this.

We are confident that the above measures, including the review of the Protected Disclosures Act and Witness Protection Act to improve the protection of whistleblowers, will contribute towards accountability and justice, and preventing a recurrence of state capture, by maintaining appropriate executive oversight, by insulating the NPA from undue political interference, by enhancing its independence, and enabling the NPA to carry out its mandate without fear, favour or prejudice as constitutionally required to do. In line with its constitutional mandate.

As lawyers for the people, we, in the NPA stand ready to support and implement the measures announced by the President.


Mthunzi Mhaga

NPA Spokesperson


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