National Prosecuting Authority performance 2011/12: NPA briefing

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Justice and Correctional Services

15 October 2012
Chairperson: Mr L Landers (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The National Prosecuting Authority made a presentation on its annual report. Figures were given in respect of the targets and achievements made by the NPA in relation to various areas and in respect of the courts. NPA defended its capacity to deliver, but also noted that there were serious funding constraints that affected its capacity to fill critical vacancies. On top of that, NPA would take 1%, 2% and 3% in budget cuts going forward, over the next three years under the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). It also drew the attention of the Committee to a R1.6 billion judgement awarded against it by the Labour Court. It reported some progress in service delivery as well.

A DA Member asked why so many ANC Members were absent. The Committee asked questions surrounding the National Prosecuting Authority’s internal capacity, performance, funding and budget cuts. Some of the questions sought explanations regarding wide disparities in crime, enrolment and conviction rates in the country. The Committee also probed whether the absence of convictions in high profile corruption and commercial crime cases in the year under review was not an indication that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) lacked critical expertise. It also probed the controversial discontinuance of a number of other high profile cases such as the 'Amigos' Case.

Meeting report

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) performance 2011/12: NPA briefing
Adv Thoko Majokweni, Acting Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions, made the presentation. In respect of the performance overview of the NPA, it was stated that high conviction rates had been maintained in all courts; overall conviction rate was 88.8%. There had been Increase in number of cases finalised through alternative dispute resolution mechanism (ADRM) by 2.2%, from 129 846 in 2010/11 to 132 695 in 2011/12. All courts maintained a positive clearance ratio – disposing of more cases than enrolled. There had been a 12.2% reduction in number of cases withdrawn. The courts on the Backlog Court Project had finalised 15 886 backlog cases which contributed to the reduction in backlog of cases, at the end of the year the backlog was 34 926, 5.7% less than the 37 034 in 2010/11. About 6.4% more dockets were referred for decision. 650 677 dockets were dealt with which was a 5.4% increase. There was a 6.9% (70 630) increase in formal bail applications compared to the 66 046 applications dealt with during 2010/11. The target of 30 Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs) had been achieved & 52 sites (by March 2012) were providing services. Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) was slightly below target for number of cases due to focus on large corruption cases. There had been increased frozen assets by 0.8% to R553m which was11% above target. Also, AFU and courts had increased victims compensation by 125% to R126m (AFU R93.8m and courts R32m) which was 127% above target. It should be noted that no witnesses were harmed or threatened while in the witness protection programme.

Adv Majokweni made submissions concerning the achievement of Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) targets and indicators. She indicated areas in which the NPA had set down targets and the actual success rates in the achievement of these targets. These areas were in relation to public prosecutions; asset forfeiture; sexual offences; office for witness protection; number of criminal court cases in which a sentence of 10 years or more of direct imprisonment without the option of a fine was imposed; conviction rate on complex commercial crime; conviction rates on trio crimes; conviction rate of organised crime; conviction rate in sexual offences; number of backlogs in the Regional and High Courts; overall conviction rate; number of criminal court cases finalised including ADRM; number of new completed forfeiture cases ; number of witnesses harmed or threatened while on the witness protection programme; number of new freezing orders; and success rate overall for AFU cases.

A performance overview of public prosecutions was also provided with figures to show the number of new cases, the number of cases removed and the number of cases finalised. These cases were viewed in relation to the Regional Courts, District Court and High Court. Figures were also given concerning the improved prosecution of Justice, Crime Prevention, and Security (JCPS) officials charged with corruption. From 175 cases finalised a total of 173 accused were convicted of which 107 were officials within the JCPS Cluster. Further figures were given in relation to improved justice services for the victims of crime. The performance overview of Sexual Offences and Community Affairs (SOCA) was also given in which a number of prosecutors had been trained in relation to the Child Justice Act; Maintenance Act; Domestic Violence; Human Trafficking; and Sexual Offences. Significant progress had been made in dealing with serious corruption cases by the joint efforts of the Hawks, SIU and NPA in the
Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT). There had also been an increased prosecution of cybercrime and figures were provided on the number of cases prosecuted.

In respect of the audit findings, there had
been a disclaimer in 2007/08, 2008/09 – qualified audit opinion (tangible assets; intangible assets; employee benefits; prepayments and advances; finance leases; cash and cash equivalents; irregular expenditure); 2009/10 – qualified audit opinion (tangible assets; irregular expenditure; prepayments and advances; fruitless and wasteful expenditure, employee benefits); 2010/11-unqualified audit opinion with emphasis of matter and 2011/12 – unqualified audit opinion with emphasis of matter . Figures were also given in respect of the preliminary expenditure outcome as at the end of September 2012.

Ms Majokweni concluded the first part of the presentation by stating that the current budget of the NPA was under strain; there was nothing to fill in respect of any vacancies (vacancy rate). The NPA was not in a position to provide prosecutors for new courts (ineffective court utilisation). The baseline cuts would impact on performance and targets must be revised. The impact on crime was likely to be affected by budget constraints.
(See presentation document for full details; see also Annual Report)

The meeting was adjourned until the afternoon.

Discussion on procedure

Upon resumption after the joint sitting, the Chairperson said the NPA delegation had earlier raised the issue that there was no quorum of the Committee. The Chairperson had played it down, but now wanted Committee Members’ guidance on whether the Committee should continue with the presentation, following which deliberations would commence and be concluded the following day. Alternatively, he proposed that the Committee should exhaust the consideration of the report that evening.

Ms M Smuts (DA) said she wanted the presentation to proceed, but also wanted to know why only Members of the opposition were present. She said it was not appropriate that ANC Members were absent.

The Chairperson replied that Ms C Pilane-Majake (ANC) was representing him at a Public Protector’s Good Governance programme. Mr J Sibanyoni (ANC) was the Committee’s) representative at Judicial Services Commission and the Commission was sitting. Mr L Ndabandaba (ANC) and Ms Sithole (ANC) were ill. Adv S Holomisa (ANC) was in Malawi on official assignment. Mr J Jeffery (ANC) was to join the meeting shortly.

After further deliberation, and having regard to the fact that the NPA delegation was scheduled to catch return flights that evening, the Committee decided to take the rest of the presentation and exhaust deliberations.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) performance 2011/12: NPA briefing (continued)
Adv Nomgcobo Jiba, Acting National Director of Public Prosecutions, said conviction rates in the prosecution of sexual offences that were reported at the Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs) had declined. The development prompted NPA’s call for sexual offences courts to be restored. The Minister had taken measures to ensure that the courts were brought back. He had mentioned in his budget that he would establish a Committee and that was done. A report was submitted that the Director-General (DG) would elaborate in his presentation to the Committee. Aside from this, education and awareness campaigns were conducted to educate people of the services the NPA offered. There were budget cuts that would impact performance, because there would be fewer resources to work with.

Adv Karen Van Rensburg, NPA Acting Chief Executive Officer, reported on the NPA establishment. NPA was aware of concerns that were expressed regarding its 13.7% vacancy rate. The rate was exclusive of NPA’s many temporary contract posts. By September 2012, a steep decline in the number of posts was recorded, resulting in a lower 6.78% vacancy rate. The decline occurred in compliance with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA)’s directive to remove all non-funded posts from the establishment. NPA’s employee compensation budget was under severe strain. There were no funds to continue to fill vacancies. This had severe implications for NPA capacity to increase annual targets. Targets could not be increased because NPA was already at high levels of efficiency in many areas of its services. Without additional funding, output would be limited. The National Treasury had already been notified of the implications.

The NPA had a blueprint of all unfunded posts. There was need to for sufficient hands to fill the posts. An internship started under the prosecutor’s programme, and was significantly increased to 185 last year. All internships were contract positions. Interns were being trained to be prosecutors. At the end of the programme, some interns would be absorbed into NPA if there were vacancies to fill. 145 contractors were engaged to work in backlog courts, and the NPA was discussing with the National Treasury on the need to create permanent capacities and structures. 66 contractors were engaged for TCCs, using donor funds, and subsequently, NPA funds. The positions were advertised and 58 of them would be absorbed into the NPA structure. There were not many interns in the current year because of the need to prioritise around core functions. Bursaries for the current year would begin to be funded in January. Most bursaries would fund LLB degrees, but some would also be given for other areas of professional development. The bursaries were focused primarily on staff members that did not have the minimum qualifications.

There were 169 disciplinary hearings in the period, representing a steep increase from the previous year. The reason was that there were many incidents of irregular expenditure by staff members who did not comply with financial requirements. About 25 to 30 staff members were found guilty of not following procedure. They were disciplined. However, none of the infractions resulted in personal benefit. There were also those who did not make the required financial disclosures. 16 staff members were suspended. Some were charged with corruption and transferred. No convictions were recorded yet. These developments unfolded because the Justice, Crime Prevention, and Security (JCPS) cluster intensified its focus on dealing with corruption. NPA improved the turnaround in disciplinary processes. In 2011/12, there were 21 pending hearings after 169 hearings, compared to 48 in previous year.

In the last two financial years, NPA received unqualified audit opinions with emphasis of matter. The audit finding of a lack of management in the NPA meant only there were minimum findings in aspects of institutional governance. It did not mean the organisation lacked leadership. The emphases of matter related to accounting errors. The Auditor-General (AG) mentioned that NPA needed an auditing plan, and to plan the annual financial statement. There was a plan last year which was being improved. Issues were also raised about NPA’s internal committees, such as internal audit and irregular expenditures committees. NPA’s audit Committee was one with the audit Committee of the Department of Justice. The parent Committee was substantially beefed up and was beneficial to the NPA. There was quality feedback from the audit Committee. The quality of NPA’s internal audit was good, and allowed the organisation to identify root causes and determine how to address them. 99.94% of irregular expenditures in NPA were detected internally. So there was a huge improvement in the management of irregular expenditure. NPA was strong in taking action against staff members who were involved.

The AG had warned that payments that were not made before the end of the year would be carried into the next financial year. R38 million worth of payables were outstanding last year. Of that, R26 million in payments was disputed with suppliers. Also, NPA provided assistance to other departments that had challenges due to problems with recovering funds from government department. NPA monitored day to day payments on a monthly basis. It was busy currently looking at automated systems for this process.

The AG’s report, in proper perspective, showed 36% of NPA’s planned targets were not achieved. 64% was accomplished. In the report for the next financial year, NPA would make sure it gave the AG adequate information on accomplishments so that the accomplishments could be properly reflected. The organisation had a checklist for compliance with rules and regulations and did well with monitoring compliance. Those who engaged in remunerative work were disciplined. However, they did not know they were engaged in remunerative work. The organisation educated staff members accordingly.

Mr Gordon Hollamby, NPA CFO, presented the financial report. Notch increments had not been implemented for prosecutors’ cost of living adjustments. The ratio between “goods and services” and “compensation of employees” showed the pressure on goods and services was also becoming severe. NPA could not continue to move funds from goods and services to cover salaries.

Other expenditures were normal. Costs saving measures were introduced and travelling subsistence expenditure came down from last year. NPA would continue to manage expenditure. Quarterly budget review Committee meetings were held, where expenditure was analysed - especially in the line of the organisation’s performance - and shifted between non-performing to performing areas. NPA penalised those who did not post performance, but would not be in position to recruit new hands.

The baseline deduction was confirmed. It would be 1% for 2013/14, and going forward, 1%, 2%, 3%. In actual figures, it would be about R29 million next year, R60 million in the year after, and a hundred fold the outer year. The DG had indicated NPA would be expected to carry the burden in its baseline. That could be accommodated in the first year through cuts in corporate services so that core services could function properly.

At the sub-programme level, public prosecution had the biggest chunk of the budget, at 75%. Support services provided centralised services for fleets, travel, information technology (IT) services, etc.

The NPA received less from National Treasury than it had requested. For example, it received less than it requested to mainstream TCCs. To make up for the shortfall, funds would have to be reprioritised from elsewhere.

Adv Jiba said measures were being put in place to mitigate the impact of budget cuts and ensure organisational efficiency. Consequently, NPA focused on filing critical vacancies in core functions.

She also drew attention to a Labour Court judgement that awarded R1.6 billion against NPA. It related to, a job evaluation process under which certain benefits were to be paid to staff members. NPA decided to make the payments believing that funds would be raised. However, Treasury did not provide the money. The judgement would impact on other departments as well. Consequently, the matter was raised with the Executive and the Minister of Public Service and Administration. NPA also received legal opinion that the judgement could be appealed.

Mr Willie Hofmeyr, Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions, gave more detail of the background of the judgement. It all began in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when a job evaluation process in all departments of government was conducted to integrate the public services from the former states. A regulation was issued at the time by the Department of Public Services and Administration (DPSA) that a job evaluation could only be implemented if there was budget in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period. When the NPA completed its evaluation in 2005, the total cost was R140 million. NPA had internal savings to implement R27 million worth of the evaluation. There were no funds from the rest. Although there was subordinate legislation on the issue that was part of the bargaining agreement between government and the labour unions, the arbitrator ignored the legislation. R1.6 billion was the total sum now due – from accumulations over eight years for staff who were affected at the time and for subsequent recruitments. That was more than half of NPA’s budget. NPA petitioned the Constitutional Court but the appeal was not as of right.
(See presentation document for full details; see also Annual Report)

Discussion

Ms Smuts observed that sections 9 and 13 of the National Prosecuting Authority Act (No. 32 of 1998) deprived NPA of prosecutorial independence and financial and administrative autonomy. There were also issues pertaining to NPA’s autonomy that should be the subject of a constitutional review, such as the issue of the full responsibility of the Minister for the NPA, and a possible amendment to Section 179 of the Constitution regarding the appointment of the NDPP. Fortunately, a draft Bill to amend the NPA Act had been developed. What was the Acting National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP)'a position on the Bill? What further proposals did she make? Did she support full institutional independence? What could she say about the controversial abandonment of prosecutions in a number of high profile cases like the Amigo’s case?

The appointment of the former NDPP was been nullified, but the court ruled that his acting decisions remained valid. How did things stand with the possible freezing and seizing of his assets. Where did things stand with the office of witness protection? Why was the office within the NPA contrary to its statute? Lastly, why were there such wide discrepancies between crime, enrolment rates and conviction rates? How did affect the number of awaiting trial detainees?

Mr Jeffery asked whether NPA monitored delays in the courts that were caused by prosecutors who failed to appear in court. There was a tendency to arrest and arraign offenders before investigations were concluded, and this contributed to delays in court. What were the arrangements to ensure there was prosecutorial involvement and prosecutors stayed with the cases from the onset? The post of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP): KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) had been held in an acting capacity for some time. What was the present situation? Were there enough prosecutors for all the courts, and when the new ones were completed? Why was the disciplinary procedure not finished against the KZN prosecutor who had been charged with corruption? How did NPA mediate in drunken driving cases?

Ms Schafer wanted to know what led to the fast and sudden arrest of 200 miners in Marikana. How many convictions were obtained? Why were there contradictions in the number of cases that the South African Police Service (SAPS) claimed to have sent to NPA and what NPA claimed to have received? Were cases returned to SAPS and why? 64,000 cases of sexual offences were reported annually and only about 10% was finalised. That was horrendous. What did the report mean by ‘finalised’? Where the cases withdrawn, were there convictions or what? Why was there no urgency to bring back the sexual offences court? Were plans under-way to make that happen faster? Why did NPA have prosecutors who did not have an LLB. Could this be an explanation for the low conviction rates? Were there enough prosecutors and what was being done to increase their capacity? Could future NPA reports show how many complaints were received from the Public Protector and how they were dealt with?

The Chairperson commended Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng for calling the court efficiency meeting and was curious to see how the effort came to fruition. The step was long overdue. In view of tendency of the police to arrest before investigating, he also said that it was encouraging that NPA adopted a ‘no case no enrolment’ policy. There was a huge awaiting trial population that was a burden to the taxpayer. Mr V Smith (ANC), the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services, had made the point that awaiting trial inmates were charged with offences that carried sentences that were much less than the time they had already spent in prison. This could attract serious constitutional liability situation. The situation needed to be addressed.

Adv Jiba responded. On the subject of the constitutionality of NPA, management wholeheartedly supported amendments that would give NPA autonomy. NPA was in favour of becoming a constitutional entity rather than a public entity. A document was produced in-house. Internal consultations on the document were under-way, and were inclusive considering that major changes were envisaged. A memorandum was prepared in support the changes. The process would proceed further.

The prosecutorial decisions to abandon some prosecutions were taken by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP): KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in consultation with her staff. Officers from the Organised Crimes Unit at the national office were also involved. There were taken because there were challenges with providing further particulars, which dimmed the chances of successful prosecution. The decisions left the NPA to focus on strong cases. There was a pending case in KZN and another in Northern Province, in which the NPA faced a major constitutional challenge by the defence. NPA tried to close all the loopholes that could lead to losing the case and sought legal advice. It was not advisable to disclose the details yet.

Adv Jiba said the NPA had never objected to heading the Witness Protection Programme, and in fact made submission to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. It would be better if the DG addressed it.

Adv Van Rensburg acknowledged there were huge gaps between the number of crimes committed in South Africa and number of cases reported, or enrolled or successfully prosecuted. Ongoing engagements with strategic partners and stakeholders were considering how to close the gap. Several challenges accounted for the disparities. Some crimes were hard to detect or the perpetrators were not known individuals. There were no good informal information systems, or good forensic systems. Low Detection rates were an age long problem. A coordinated approach was need and NPA was looking to hold discussions with stakeholders on how they could work as a cluster toward it tagged the ‘emerging crime scene’. NPA would try to improve reporting and close gaps. It agreed on the need for consistency and had developed indicators with agreed terminology. NPA’s reports spoke to the indicators. It was also audited on how it defined its indicators. The meaning of ‘finalised’ was indicated on page 66 of the report being considered.

Adv Jiba addressed questions about premature cases. There were rules and policies on ground, such as the ‘no case no enrolment policy’, but these needed to be enforced. An analysis of absenteeism among prosecutors and administrative officials had been concluded. A lot of absenteeism was indicated in a particular area, which meant performance would be under par. The NPA was looking at that. Mechanisms were in place to ensure problems could be resolved internally.

Efforts to fill vacancies were at advanced stages. The DPP for KZN would be appointed soon, as all processes had been finalised. The CEO’s position was advertised twice and a list of candidates was now before the DG. For newly built courts, the NPA advertised positions for DPP. NPA would ensure that the courts had prosecutors.

The prosecutors who were arrested in KZN were served with notice of intention to suspend. In due course the decision would be made on whether to suspend.

Mr Jeffery said a prosecutor was arrested a month ago and wanted to know if disciplinary processes were moving fast enough, or whether it could be faster.

Adv Jiba replied that the process was such that one did not wait for the other. The disciplinary process was different from the court process and neither interfered with the other. Regarding the 200 miners at Marikana, she replied that they could be charged quickly because they were arrested at the scene of the offence.

On the issue of dedicated prosecutors, there seemed to be not quite a number of cybercrime complicated cases that were particularly referred for prosecution. The Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit (SCCU) focused on cybercrime offences. There were three specialists were in the SCCU.

On the educational requirements for prosecutors, Adv Van Rensburg explained that LLB was not a requirement. However, the Department was encouraging prosecutors who did not have LLBs to acquire the degree.

Regarding the implications of budget cuts, Mr Hollamby responded that they would provide the information. However, he noted that the Public Protector would not be required to contribute to the budget cuts. The issue would be raised with the DG. He also explained that the interests indicated on page 88 of the Annual Report related to NPA’s leases on vehicles and computers. The lease had capital and interest components. The interest related to the interest component of the leases.

Ms Jiba agreed that the situation with persons awaiting trial courted potentially serious constitutional infringements. The NPA was trying to enforce the ‘no case no enrolment’ policy to limit such cases although there may be exceptional cases. NPA would ensure the strict compliance with the rules.

Mr Jeffery said the Correctional Services Act (No. 111 of 1998) stipulated that accused persons awaiting trial may not be kept in prison for two years. Was NPA aware of the provision, and was it tagging the cases? Though a good measure, the Act could result in the release of not very nice people, which was something to worry about.

Did the NPA see the Treasury’s response to the Committee’s concerns in last year’s beef-up review? The Committee said that more money should be put aside to increase NPA’s capacity, roll out more TCCs, provide training, etc. The National Treasury had welcomed the recommendations and said additional funding could be considered for these projects. It had also noted that there was no funding request for the option of employing contract staff on a permanent basis. He asked NPA to give the Committee a written response.

Mr Jeffery also pointed out that NPA’s report did not show any prosecutions on corruption. None of 22 cases instituted were finalised. Elsewhere, NPA also performed below target. The Premier’s Office in KZN complained that the NPA did not necessarily have the capacity for serious cases. He advised NPA to look into the issue.

Ms L Adams (COPE) observed that only 15.7% of staff received performance reports. Did that mean that all other staff members were under-performing? Were the critical posts to be filled identified? Where were they? What was the status of prosecutor who was taken into custody? There were media claims that he was suspended. Was that the case? Was he receiving salary? Was NPA prioritising cases where the accused person was in custody, and witnesses were in the witness protection programme? Did the NPA have a system that indicated how long the accused was in custody? DNA tests cleared Ntuthuko Ndlela of raping a 94 year old grandmother. DNA tests took forever but in the Bronx murder case in the Western Cape, the provincial DPP was asked to expedite action and the DNA tests brought forward. How were decisions taken regarding which case to expedite DNA tests?

Adv Jiba, responded to the question regarding backlog courts, and said that an analysis of what the courts have achieved was under-way. There were considerations to make those positions permanent but deliberations must look beyond backlogs. Backlog courts should not be permanent because provisions should not be made for cases to remain backlogs. Part of the problem was the availability of courts. DPPs were addressing those cases where the accused were close to the two year period.

NPA had capacity to prosecute complex corruption cases. Efforts were under-way to second the most senior deputies who had a track record of convictions to the National Office. Many of the current cases were enrolled prematurely. The NPA was harnessing internal expertise before it could look outside for expertise. It was also important to look into how those skills were focused. Another reason for low conviction rates was that the cases were highly litigated. The defence caused a lot of delay, so that when the case eventually went to trial, there were problems with documentary evidence. Most commercial crimes relied on documentary evidence. Critical posts were continually identified.

The cases of people in custody were identified on an ongoing basis and prioritised. There was no process for choosing DNA tests to fast track.

Regarding performance rewards, Adv Van Rensburg said high performance standards were maintained in NPA. Everybody got a bonus on the basis of satisfactory performance. The performance rewards were for those who went beyond the call of duty. There were plans to monitor the small minority that under perform. The prosecutor who was charged in Pretoria was dismissed from the organisation within weeks of the arrest.

Adv Majokweni answered questions on maintenance matters. The organisation instituted maintenance prosecutors a few years ago, to deal with maintenance matters. 18 maintenance prosecutors were deployed across the country. Each province had a representation of maintenance prosecutors. The measure improved maintenance services significantly. No additional positions could be created as desired, because of money issues. 10 senior maintenance prosecutors were also created to train maintenance prosecutors, maintenance officers and investigators. It worked very well though the reach was not as much as was desired. NPA was working to end the queues for maintenance. Ten coastal provinces were being looked at to pilot the process. There were an increasing number of cases in which execution warrants were issued on even cars, salaries, houses etc. On an ongoing basis, value was being added.

Ms Schafer asked why the project was just limited to 10 courts.

Adv Majokweni replied that thus was to start, to make sure that processes were in place, piloted and made to work.

Ms Shafer asked for the experience of prosecutors who dealt with serious commercial cases. There was the view that they were very inefficient and that could have contributed to the poor reports.

Ms Adams noted that in the previous year the NPA in Western Case withdrew all cases involving breathalyser tests. What was the status of the cases?

Mr Jeffery asked if there was one central DNA laboratory and the length of time it took to wait for a DNA test.

Adv Jiba replied that the bulk of prosecutors who were experienced in commercial crime cases were properly allocated in SCCU but that was not to say that others were not capable. At any rate, highly qualified prosecutors from the National Office were involved at the early stage. It would not be right to say that the prosecutors that handled the cases, even if they did not have the experience, did not have assistance from the National Office. But the NPA understood the point. For the Output 5 cases at hand, NPA would take the very best prosecutors and locate in them the National Office so they could focus on these cases, wherever the cases may be.

Adv Rodney de Koch, Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions, said there was a new DNA laboratory in the Western Cape. SAPS acquired new technical equipment that finalised tests much faster. There were still delays but constant engagements were had to ensure that reports were received timely at the courts. He personally issued a directive to the police that DNA must be analysed in each case. In some cases where other evidence exists, the prosecution may DNA dispense with the DNA tests.

With regard to the Drager instrument, the National Technical Committee completed work on the specifications of the particular instrument that would be used. The instrument would be available sometime next year. Work was still under-way regarding breathalyser machines and the regulations that would go with it. In the meantime, there were other methods of showing that someone was under the influence of alcohol.

Mr Jeffery said he was concerned that none from the NPA seemed to know when the Correctional Services Act would commence.

Adv Kochresponded that the new implementation date would be in January 2013. At NPA, reports were being received of people in custody for six months to two years. The process would be judicially determined. NPA had a monthly tracking system.

The Chairperson thanked the NPA delegation for the presentation. He would write to the NPA about a sexual offences case involving an American Peace Corps Member, Jesse Osmun who committed rape in South Africa but was being tried in the US. He challenged NPA to be more professional in its subsequent report.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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