DA wants new corruption busting Chapter 9 institution
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The DA wants a new Chapter 9 institution established to focus solely on grand-scale corruption.
The party said on Thursday that it was concerned with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Hawks' ability to deal with corruption cases swiftly because of systematic issues.
DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach said the establishment of an independent Chapter 9 institution to focus on corruption will help deal with the corruption cases that have not been investigated.
The institution would be called the Anti-Corruption Commission. Breytenbach said it was envisioned that it would function exactly like other Chapter 9 institutions such as the Public Protector's office. These institutions are independent of the government, and as such, have strengthened powers.
The DA wants the institution to be able to investigate and prosecute corruption cases.
"The establishment of an Anti-Corruption Commission will particularly remove a large burden on the NPA, allowing them to concentrate on their core function of prosecuting crime, as the Commission will concentrate on a strictly defined and legislated space, dealing only with large scale grand corruption," she said.
"This will provide a quicker, more efficient and effective method of dealing with the type of grand scale corruption we see daily, but which cannot be dealt with effectively within current existing and overburdened structures," she said.
For a Chapter 9 institution to be created, the DA plans to introduce two private member Bills. One Bill will propose amendments to Sections 181, 193 and 194 of the Constitution to establish the new Chapter 9 Institution.
The other Bill will focus on legislation that will govern the functions, powers and composition of the commission.
The DA said funding should be found to help finance the new institution.
Breytenbach said it was simply not enough to just bolster the NPA and Hawks, and that an independent institution with powers, was needed.
"The Hawks are not politically independent. There are serious constraints within the process of setting up a Chapter 9 institution, we know it won't be easy. I do not believe bolstering the Hawks and NPA will be sufficient," Breytenbach.
She said there was no intention to undermine the Hawks and the NPA.
"This is not intended to undermine structures in the justice system, of course there is a lot of potential for tension, and I see that, but as soon as Bills are at the point to be discussed, we will discuss it with police and the NPA as well," Breytenbach said.
Paul Hoffman from Accountability Now, which will petition the constitutional amendment committee on the matter, said the creation of the institution would enable the State to claw back money lost to State Capture.
"The specialist body, if it functions how it should, will be able to pull back the loot of State Capture. The estimates of that loot amount to R1.5 trillion on some accounts that have been sucked out of the system," Hoffman said.
The Bills to be introduced have a long way to go and the DA admits that a large majority (75%) of MPs would have to vote in support of a Constitutional amendment for the creation of a Chapter 9 institution.
The Bills would also need buy-in at the justice committee level and from a majority of MPs - mostly ANC MPs, as the party has a majority in Parliament.
DA Chief Whip Natasha Mazzone said any party that supported democracy and a strong anti-corruption stance would support this move.
It's unclear at the moment when the Bills will be introduced as they are being drafted by Parliament's legal services.