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NPA removing the benefits of crime one step at a time

Kenneth Samuel, Roshiela Beinmadho, Elaine Zungu, Kuveshni Pilay and Rajendrie Naidoo took stock of the effectiveness of Section 18 applications in curbing crime Picture: Mervyn Naidoo

Kenneth Samuel, Roshiela Beinmadho, Elaine Zungu, Kuveshni Pilay and Rajendrie Naidoo took stock of the effectiveness of Section 18 applications in curbing crime Picture: Mervyn Naidoo

Published Jun 26, 2022

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The success of a project piloted by the National Prosecuting Authority in Durban over the past year, to seize assets from convicted criminals, has stirred optimism about what could be achieved in future, throughout KwaZulu-Natal.

The project, which is aligned with Section 18 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 121 of 1998, was driven by the NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) and supported by their prosecution arm.

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Proceeds derived from the seizure of assets through S18 court applications gets directed to the Criminal Assets Recovery Account (Cara), for the purpose of enhancing the country’s crime-fighting machinery.

Kenneth Samuel, Roshiela Beinmadho, Elaine Zungu, Kuveshni Pilay and Rajendrie Naidoo took stock of the effectiveness of Section 18 applications in curbing crime Picture: Mervyn Naidoo

Local NPA heads met at the Durban Magistrate’s courthouse building this week to reflect on what the project had yielded thus far and to recognise those who played significant roles.

Advocate Rajendrie Naidoo of the AFU, who spearheaded the project, told the gathering that between April 2021, and March this year, 19 successful S18 confiscations were granted.

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Naidoo revealed that advocate Kuveshni Pillay, a prosecutor based in Durban, had achieved eight of those confiscation applications, and she received a special award for her efforts.

Advocate Kuveshni Pillay with the award she received for her handling of Section 18 claims, where assets of convicted criminals are seized.

She said Pillay was entrusted with certain case dockets where seizure of assets was possible and the prosecutor made the effort to secure the respective court orders.

Naidoo acknowledged the support received from Durban’s chief prosecutor Gonasagren Sagren Naidoo, Roshiela Beinmadho, senior public prosecutor, Dr Mfanafuthi Simelane, KZN’s acting regional head of the AFU and Elaine Zungu, KZN’s director of public prosecutions.

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Naidoo accepted that the project had made a “small dent in terms of the true extent of corruption in KZN”.

“This is only the beginning, we have started to climb this mountain. Every year we want to see the figures grow,” she said.

Naidoo said the event was to celebrate victory and successes of the collaboration between the NPA’s AFU and prosecution units.

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“South Africa’s democracy is not guaranteed, it is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it. Guarding and protecting our democracy will result in struggles and requires sacrifice,” she said.

Naidoo said as NPA officials, they had the ability and power to contribute towards a better future.

“The pebble has been thrown, let us work together to create ripples so that all courts follow these examples,” urged Naidoo.

Kenneth Samuel, deputy director of public prosecutions said the NPA was invested in S18 as a means to further establish their message that “crime doesn’t pay”.

He also applauded Naidoo and Sam Schalkwyk, another AFU official, for the work done on the pilot project.

Zungu said the project was left in Naidoo’s hands because she showed the required “passion and dedication”.

‘Similarly, she also acknowledged Pillay and Beinmadho’s long-standing work ethic.

“It’s that type of positive attitude that was required,” Zungu said when reflecting on what had been accomplished through the S18 seizures.

“The door is always open and when you have projects to embark on that will make a difference, like the monies that were taken, which will be for the benefit of South Africans,” she said.

Zungu said the programme had to be rolled out at other courts, no matter how small the matters were.

“Imagine the impact it will have in stock theft matters, where vehicles are used to transport stolen goods. There is so much we can get,” she said.

Zungu said the pilot project was the first step and she looked forward to more success.

“It also motivates me as the leader of KZN,” she said.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE

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