Cape Town - Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Ronald Lamola has earmarked a significant portion of the department’s budget for entities on the front line of fighting corruption, crime and fraud.
Speaking as he tabled his department’s R23.2 billion budget vote for the 2023/24 financial year in Parliament on Tuesday, Lamola said that this would ensure success in the war against graft.
He said the National Prosecuting Authority’s overall allocation of the budget came to R5.4bn and that this amount included an additional grant of R915 million made by the government to strengthen its efforts in fighting crime and corruption.
The NPA’s investigative directorate was allocated R336m. Lamola said the NPA effectively deals with more than 850 000 criminal cases yearly.
“The progress made by the NPA is evident in the numbers. It is encouraging to see that they are growing from strength to strength. Although there have been some setbacks, they are not insurmountable, and plans are in place to address them.”
He said the Special Investigating Unit was also doing a “great job” investigating allegations of corruption and maladministration in government departments, municipalities and state-owned entities.
He said the government was putting forward new policies and legislative amendments to protect whistle-blowers as they were crucial in the service of justice.
“Without their co-operation, obtaining convictions can prove challenging. Therefore it is imperative to implement strong measures to safeguard them.”
During the debate on the budget vote, Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery said that with the unabated increase of sexual violence in the country, the court system had to be responsive and more accessible to survivors of sex crimes.
This would increase reporting and the use of the courts, while reducing the withdrawal rate by complainants in such cases.
He said one of the provisions in the Judicial Matters Amendment Bill, currently before Parliament, enables the minister to designate specific regional courts as sexual offences courts.