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Lamola hits out at EFF for attacking institutions of democracy

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola

Published May 18, 2022

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CAPE TOWN - Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has lashed out at the EFF for attacking some institutions of the country’s constitutional democracy and wanting to instruct the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on who to prosecute.

Speaking during the mini-debate on the budget of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Lamola said it was unfortunate that some MPs continued to attack the institutions of democracy.

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“It is shocking that in their attack they are being factional, attacking courts and singling out certain judges without any facts, without any basis and just armed with conspiracy, no reality and nothing. Such conduct is very dangerous in any constitutional democracy, casting aspersions on important institutions without any facts and without any evidence, and being factional,” he said.

Lamola was responding to EFF MP Yoliswa Yako, who during the debate said South Africa’s democracy was entering a very dangerous period where justice and the rule of law were being undermined.

Yako said the country had started to see a glimpse of justice employed by the rich and powerful to advance their interests while silencing the poor and the vulnerable.

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“This phenomenon is more pronounced under Ramaphosa,” she said. Yako accused the head of the NPA, Shamila Batohi, of factional prosecutions, saying Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane was not prosecuted for fraud and corruption arising from the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela funeral saga, despite the Hawks submitting a docket for prosecution.

She ascribed the non-prosecution to what she described as Mabuyane being a key supporter of Ramaphosa.

She also accused the NPA of not prosecuting the Steinhoff debacle, which she said was the biggest corporate fraud in the history of South Africa.

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Yako also accused Batohi and Lamola of wanting to hand over prosecutions to private individuals, with the government’s plan to source private funding for the prosecuting body, saying they wanted to “make the NPA dance to the whims of those who funded”.

However, she said this phenomenon was not new as the justice system had been captured. Yako said her party condemned Lamola’s lack of support for Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and his alleged complicity in the assault of her office.

“Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, despite some of the mistakes she made, does not deserve to be treated this way in a democratic government.”

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She maintained that Mkhwebane released hundreds of reports that were not found wanting and that protected the rights of citizens, but she was nonetheless subjected to impeachment for releasing reports that made findings against Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

But Lamola said the EFF was factional, which could be seen by its failure to acknowledge that the NPA and Hawks were prosecuting the Tongaat matter – a white collar crime involving mostly white men.

He insisted that the NPA was prosecuting without any fear, favour or prejudice.

“They look at the facts of the matter and evidence. They are not informed by a minister or a politician. Neither will any organisation inform them to prosecute or not prosecute anyone.”

The minister said the opposition should know that when the NPA was given instructions, this was interference with its mandate.

“Maybe they may need to relook at the NPA Act themselves. You can’t instruct the NPA to do so,” he said.

“Even you, MPs, should resist and desist from the temptation to instruct what the NPA must do in terms of prosecuting anyone.

“Allow them to do so informed by the facts, informed by evidence and informed by the law in front of them, not by political statements and pressure,” he said.

In reference to the EFF’s defence of Mkhwebane, Lamola warned it against protecting certain institutions.

“You cannot just isolate courts and want to protect certain institutions. The protection must be afforded to all institutions of our democracy,” he said.

Cape Times

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