About the NPA

Introduction to the National Prosecuting Authority

Section 179 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act No. 108 of 1996), created a single National Prosecution Authority (NPA).

The Office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions was established on 1 August 1998, in terms of section 179 (1) of the Constitution. The NPA comprises of the National Director, who is the head of the Office and manages the Office; Deputy National Directors of Public Prosecutions; Directors of Public Prosecutions and Special Directors; other members of the prosecuting authority appointed at or assigned to the Office; and members of the administrative staff at the Office.

Legislation governing the prosecuting authority is the National Prosecuting Authority Act, 1998 (Act No. 32 of 1998). The Constitution, read with the said Act, provides the prosecuting authority with the power to institute criminal proceedings on behalf of the State and to carry out any necessary functions incidental to instituting criminal proceedings.


  • The Bill of Rights and Section 179 of the 1996 Constitution of the Republic of South Africa create a single prosecuting authority.
  • The National Prosecuting Authority Act 32 of 1998 brings the NPA into existence.
  • In August 1998, the first National Director of Public Prosecution was appointed.
  • The NPA is structured into the following Core Business Units:
    • National Prosecutions Service (NPS)
    • Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU)
    • Sexual Offences and Community Affairs (SOCA)
    • Specialised Commercial Crime Unit (SCCU)
    • Witness Protection Unit (WPU)
    • Priority Crimes Litigation Unit (PCLU)
  • All the Business Units are supported by Administration. The following are some of the important laws that have a direct bearing on NPA activities: NPA Act 32 of 1998, Witness Protection Act 112 of 1998 Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998, Prevention of Organised Crime Act 121 of 1998, Prevention and Combating of Corruption Activity 12 of 2004