President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo: Kopano Tlape/GCIS.

** This story has been updated

Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Advocate Hermione Theresa Cronje as the head of the Investigating Directorate in the Office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), the Presidency confirmed on Friday.

Cronje's appointment was effective from May 15, 2019.

Ramaphosa established the new unit to investigate corruption, fraud and theft in large part in a bid to ensure that the culprits of the state capture scandal that has shaken the country for several years, be brought to book.

The investigating directorate is tasked with investigating common law offences including fraud, forgery, uttering, theft and any offence involving dishonesty.

The Presidency in a statement said Cronje's appointment would be for a period of five years.

"The investigating directorate she will lead in her new role will attend to statutory offences including but not limited to contraventions of: The Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 6 of 2000; the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 121 of 1988; the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act 33 of 2004; the Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999; the Municipal Management Act 56 of 2003; the Financial Intelligence Centre Act 38 of 2001; and any other statutory offence involving dishonesty.

"In addition, the directorate will investigate any unlawful activities relating to serious, high-profile or complex corruption including but not limited to offences or criminal or unlawful activities arising from current commissions and inquiries."

Cronje holds a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government and a BA and LLB from the University of Cape Town.

She worked for the NPA for 14 years and helped to establish the now defunct Scorpions investigative unit. 

She served for ten years as the head of the NPA's Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), which she helped found, in the Western Cape.

Cronje has since 2013 worked as a consultant for the Stolen Assets Recovery Initiative (StAR) - a joint initiative of the World Bank and UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

IOL and African News Agency