Politics / 17 July 2019, 09:00am / SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI
Johannesburg - Justice Minister Ronald Lamola will lobby Parliament to pressure the National Treasury to increase the funding of the prosecuting body.
Lamola said on Tuesday that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) would have a budget shortfall of more than R121million.
Opposition parties warned in Parliament, during the debate on the Department of Justice budget, that budget cuts should not cripple the work of the NPA to investigate state capture and corruption.
The budget cuts have been implemented by the National Treasury across government departments.
But NPA boss Shamila Batohi said the new investigating directorate in her office would get more than R200m over the next three years.
However, she said the funds were insufficient to do the work the unit was meant to do.
The unit was set up a few months ago to investigate cases of state capture.
Hermione Cronje is the head of the unit, which has been dubbed the new Scorpions.
In a media briefing after his budget vote in the House, Lamola said the justice department would talk to Parliament about increasing funding for the NPA during the mini budget in October.
“The NPA projects a shortfall of R121.5m for 2019/20. We will solicit the support of Parliament to increase this funding through the adjusted estimates of national expenditure in October,” said Lamola.
Batohi said they had been talking to the director-general in the Department of Justice, Vusi Madonsela, about the budget shortfall.
However, for the new investigative directorate they wanted more money because of the nature of the cases. She said the cases to be investigated by the unit were complex and took time.
However, they would also ask for more funds from the Criminal Assets Recovery Account to boost the unit.
Lamola said the Department of Justice would support all the work done by the various commissions of inquiry, including the Zondo Commission.
“In addition, the department will also provide budgetary support for the establishment of the investigative directorate under the auspices of the NPA to deal with all cases emanating from these commissions,” said Lamola.
He said they remained unflinching in their fight against corruption.
Madonsela said the question of underfunding affected not only the Special Investigating Unit and the NPA, but cut across departments.
“The cuts are across the government. It’s not really a case of corruption-busting institutions being underfunded. It’s a case of all government departments,” said Madonsela.