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Concerns NPA Amendment Bill stops short of necessary steps

President Cyril Ramaphosa in a black suit and red tie.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. File Picture:Kopano Tlape / GCIS

Published Sep 27, 2023

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Durban - Members of Parliament have raised concerns that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Amendment Bill does not deal with the independence or establishment of an anti-corruption body.

The introduction of the NPA Amendment Bill comes in the wake of a promise by President Cyril Ramaphosa last year to strengthen the capacity of the Investigating Directorate in his response to recommendations by the Zondo Commission of Inquiry in the fight against corruption.

The commission made 205 recommendations on criminal investigations and the possible prosecution of people and companies implicated in state capture.

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo had urged the state to establish additional anti-corruption bodies, but Ramaphosa said that this recommendation had been made part of a broader review of the country’s anti-corruption structures.

Ramaphosa said the response would be in three parts, to establish a permanent Investigating Directorate, to ensure transparency in the appointment of the head of prosecutions, and to strengthen the capacity of the NPA.

The DA’s Werner Horn had said that while the Amendment Bill deals with the establishment of a permanent Investigating Directorate, it did not deal with the independence of the NPA.

“From what is in the presentation as well as what was now shared with us during the presentation, we must in my view be worried that there’s a disconnect between the remarks of the Zondo Commission about the importance to deal with and to establish and independent NPA, versus the envisaged work as set out by the department and this government as set out in the presentation.”

The ACDP's Steve Swart said the fight against corruption, for a start, will not be won or lost by “slapdash legislation”.

“The NPA is perennially under-resourced, as are the police. Until they are properly resourced both financially and otherwise, you can pass as many pieces of legislation as you like, it will make absolutely no difference."

THE MERCURY