Government must not cut NPA's budget, says public service union
Johannesburg – The Public Servants Association on Thursday warned the government against cutting the budget of the National Prosecuting Authority in the face of soaring crime and corruption.
The PSA, the majority union representing employees at the prosecuting authority, made the call a day after NPA director Shamila Batohi told Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice and correctional services that suggested budget cuts would render the entity ineffective and reverse the gains it was making against crime.
The PSA applauded recent NPA moves to prosecute prominent individuals on corruption-related cases, saying this had not been prevalent under former president Jacob Zuma’s administration.
“The PSA has also noted that the NPA is making every effort to restore the public’s confidence and the credibility of the institution,” it said.
“The mooted budget cuts will not do justice to the NPA and will not support government’s statements related to the commitment of combatting corruption.”
It urged the government to source expertise from the private sector in its efforts to assist the NPA, saying it was high time South Africa worked to shed its image as one of the most corruption-stricken countries in the world.
“The image and credibility of the NPA is in urgent need of being restored, as is the need to offer tangible evidence of the government’s commitment to restore law and order in the country,” the PSA added.
Earlier this week, Business Leadership South Africa said a recent slew of arrests linked to corruption were a much needed show of teeth by authorities and a boost of confidence.
Several people have been arrested, among them former government officials, in connection with a deeply flawed asbestos audit in the Free State which resulted in the waste of more than R200 million.
Elsewhere, former and current senior police officials in KwaZulu-Natal are in the dock alongside businessman Thoshan Panday, who was arrested last week for corruption and fraud worth R47m relating to tenders for police accommodation and supplies during the 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa.
On Wednesday, the former chief financial officer of the VBS Mutual Bank, Philip Truter, became the first employee of the bank to be jailed for a scheme that triggered its collapse.
The NPA said Truter would spend an effective seven years behind bars for his role in the scandal that saw about R1.89 billion looted from the bank between 2015 and 2018.
African News Agency (ANA)