In a virtual meeting, the Committee met with the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to be briefed on the resignation of Adv Hermione Cronje, Head: Investigating Directorate (ID), and the reasons for the NPA missing the deadline for issuing a prosecutorial decision on the Cradock Four matter.
The Minister said the challenges faced by the NPA and the ID were immense, but not insurmountable. The Ministry had supported the ID in its engagements with National Treasury and the Department of Public Service and Administration in terms of office accommodation and personnel. The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation had appointed 34 investigators to deal exclusively with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission cases.
Members asked for details on the challenges faced by the ID and what was being done to address them. Why had there been delays in acquiring a new building for the ID? Was the ID functioning optimally, as almost three years had passed without any progress having been made? Was there any truth to claims of a secret agreement during the end of apartheid negotiations, and if there was, whether it hampered the prosecution of Truth and Reconciliation Commission cases.
The NPA said that Adv Cronje’s reasons for resigning, which derived from a variety of factors which would not be disclosed, were understood, and that her resignation did not leave the NPA and the ID in a crisis, but rather that the ID was well-poised for the future. The ID had over 120 staff and the number would hopefully be increased to 200 by the end of 2022.The annual budget of the ID was approximately R107 m, which was expected to grow to R180m in 2022. The ID had begun onboarding resources from the State Capture Commission to manage the process of submitting the report to the President. The Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions: Asset Forfeiture Unit would support Adv Cronje and her senior managers during the transition process. The NPA would simultaneously begin the process of searching for a new Head of the ID in close consultation with Minister Lamola. The appointment process would be rigorous, and there would be no leadership gap during the transition phase.
The NPA said its commitment to make a prosecutorial decision in the Cradock Four case by 2 December 2021 had been dependent on investigations being completed. When it became clear that the deadline would not be met, a letter was sent on 1 December to indicate this. Unfortunately the letter did not reach the lawyers.
Members asked about institutional issues which had put the NPA in a precarious position. The salary discrepancies between senior prosecutors and other members were raised, as well as why so many positions had yet to be permanently filled. Members requested timelines to be provided on the resolution of the Cradock Four matter, and for tangible progress to be presented on other Truth and Reconciliation Commission cases. Members asked for reasons for Adv Cronje’s resignation and an explanation of the claims of interpersonal tension and other conflicts mentioned by Adv Cronje in her previous Committee briefing. Did the NPA have a long-term plan for the ID? Members asked for an update on the progress in migrating resources and equipment for the digital forensic laboratory from the Zondo Commission.
The Chairperson welcomed everyone to the meeting. He said that Mr Ronald Lamola, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, had asked to be released after making his presentation in order to attend a Cabinet meeting. He explained that the Committee had requested a briefing on two issues, the first of which was the resignation of Adv Hermione Cronje, Head: Investigating Directorate (ID), National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and the second of which was the NPA’s failure to meet the deadline in relation to the Cradock Four matter. In light of this, he requested the Minister to present before Adv Shamila Batohi, National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), NPA, so that he could be released.
Minister Lamola thanked the Chairperson for inviting the Ministry to the briefing. He said that he would be present in the meeting until 10 am, at which point he would have to leave to present an item at a Cabinet meeting. He said that Mr John Jeffery, Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, would remain in the meeting.
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ&CD) had tried its best to give the necessary support for the establishment of the ID as per the President’s directive in 2019. The ID was set up to investigate common law offences, including fraud, forgery, theft, and any offence involving dishonesty. The ID was required to attend to statutory offences, such as organised crime, money laundering, and offences related to corruption in the public service. The ID investigated any unlawful activities relating to serious high-profile corruption matters arising from various commissions of inquiry or from those cases referred to by the NDPP.
He had been briefed on the institutional requirements of the NPA and the ID, which had left him believing that the challenges faced would be difficult, but not insurmountable. This task would be to help rebuild the NPA and ensure the institution was able to restore public confidence in the justice system. The NPA had been able to fill the vacant positions at senior management level. The ID had been assisted to acquire additional personnel and a new building. The terms of reference of the commission of inquiry had been amended to help the ID. The Ministry had also provided support to the ID in its engagements with National Treasury and the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA).
He said he would leave the matter of Adv Cronje’s resignation to Adv Batohi. With regard to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) matters, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) had appointed 34 investigators to deal exclusively with those cases, and the NPA had obtained approval from the DPSA to designate 23 prosecutors exclusively to TRC cases which had to be prosecuted within a period of three years.
A request had been made to appoint an investigative judge on the matter relating to alleged interference by the executive in terms of investigations into the TRC. Former Justice Kate O’Regan had been approached, but she was unavailable to assist, and hence this search was still ongoing. Hopefully the judge would be appointed before the end of 2021. There was a process of issuing the memorandum regarding the resignation of Adv Cronje to the Ministry, whereafter it would be sent to the President.
The Chairperson asked the Members if they had any questions to ask Minister Lamola before he left the meeting.
Adv G Breytenbach (DA) asked Minister Lamola to be more specific regarding what the challenges were in respect of the ID and what he had done to address those challenges. She noted that it had taken the ID nearly three years to finally acquire and move into the new building. She asked if Minister Lamola was suggesting that two or three Cabinet Members could not engage and sort out this issue in less than three years for an institution that was launched to much fanfare and was heralded by Minister Lamola as being the answer to corruption in South Africa. She asked what made the accommodation that the ID had received suitable and why it was so difficult to finally give them accommodation.
She noted that the ID had eroded public confidence. She was sure that a lot of groundwork had been done, but the public did not want to hear that, they wanted to see results and consequences for actions. The ID had not taken a single case to court in its existence. How would that restore public confidence? How was the ID assisted with obtaining personnel? What access did the ID have to digital forensic skills, and how had the DoJ&CD assisted with this? As far as the TRC prosecutions were concerned, the ratio of investigators to prosecutors was unacceptable. The TRC investigations and prosecutions were thus poorly capacitated.
She asked when Minister Lamola was approached to appoint an investigative judge. There were so many retired judges, so she could not imagine why this appointment was taking so long. She asked for more clarity regarding this.
The Chairperson noted that due to time, some of the responses to the questions would have to be answered by the Deputy Minister.
Mr W Horn (DA) said that Minister Lamola had previously, and constantly, referred to the role the Ministry had played in relation to the ID and the NPA as “the giving of support”. This was concerning, because looking at his constitutional responsibilities, Minister Lamola had final responsibility for the NPA, which meant that he had to play a more active role. Minister Lamola had to explain why he thought in providing merely reactionary support he was discharging these responsibilities and duties in respect of the NPA. Further, considering that Minister Lamola was the poster model of this government’s fight against corruption, he had to explain how he had discharged his duties and functions in terms of the National Prosecuting Authority Act 32 of 1998.
He asked if Minister Lamola had, at some stage since the ID had been established, engaged with the ID and taken the entity to task about the slow pace at which matters had progressed. In light of Adv Cronje’s resignation, had Minister Lamola scrutinised the dysfunctionality of the ID? What had he done to ensure that the ID became functional? He had to do more than merely support the entity so as to adequately discharge his duties.
Mr G Hendricks (Al Jamah-Ah) asked if Minster Lamola had been hampered by decisions taken at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) not to prosecute the TRC cases. He said Minister Lamola had to be honest with South Africa. It seemed as though National Treasury was complicit in that they failed to support Minister Lamola by not giving sufficient funds to ensure the functioning of the ID and the NPA.
He asked if Minister Lamola could provide a list of persons of interest in the TRC cases and whether those persons could be brought to appear in court and provide evidence, as many interested parties were passing away before being able to receive justice. The lack of prosecutions, and the slow pace with which the TRC matters were being dealt with was a betrayal of the TRC. The TRC cases took priority over modern corruption cases.
Ms N Maseko-Jele (ANC) appreciated the work that had been done, even though much more work still had to be done. She asked if Minister Lamola understood the feelings of families affected by the TRC cases, because there had been so many delays. The public had lost confidence in justice as a result of the slow process, with many interested persons dying without receiving justice. She asked what criteria the DoJ&CD was using in selecting the so-called serious cases.
She noted that with the resignation of Adv Cronje, more time would be lost in dealing with the TRC matters. She asked when the Committee could expect tangible progress, especially with regard to the TRC cases.
Mr S Swart (ACDP) said that it was known that the Zondo Commission would give its report at the end of December. It was also expected that the NPA would then be on the receiving end of an immense amount of work. Hence, he asked whether Minister Lamola, in light of prior capacity complaints, ensure that the ID and the NPA were properly capacitated to do the required work. How long would it take for the investigative judge to be appointed and complete his or her work? Was there a timeframe on this?
Mr R Dyantyi (ANC) suggested that the NDPP provide their presentation before the Members receive a response from either Minister Lamola or the Deputy Minister so that there could be an expansive discussion, because the exercise of rapidly throwing questions at Minister Lamola and expecting prompt responses was not appropriate. He said it was better to get into a discussion after receiving both briefings.
Minister Lamola said that it unfortunately seemed as though some of the Members had called him to the meeting for politicking rather than a civilised discussion. This sort of questioning was not helpful. The ID was in the process of being established when he had arrived. As such, support had been given, including ensuring that the ID operated in accordance with the DPSA regulations, in terms of personnel. The digital forensic laboratory [assembled for the Zondo Commission] was in the process of being migrated [to the ID]. Engagements had been conducted. He said the DPCI had been struggling to acquire and provide sufficiently experienced investigators to the ID, hence work had to be done with the limited resources. But, there were constant engagements with the DPCI to get more investigators.
He admitted that the ID had not been able to operate optimally, but this was not unusual for entities which had to work on such complex matters. The necessary engagements had been done, and reports were requested when appropriate. Hence, progress reports had been received, and the Department had done the necessary political oversight.
On the issue of the new building, if Ministers had procured the building for the ID then the Committee would have called those Ministers to appear and face scrutiny for procuring that building. The Director-General of the DoJ&CD was instructed to engage with National Treasury, the NPA, and all the relevant stakeholders to ensure that the building was procured. He said that it had taken less than two years for the ID to acquire the building, because within the first year there was not a lot of staff which required a separate building. Further, the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the need for a building also diminishing, but the building was nonetheless procured through the proper channels. He was sure that Adv Breytenbach and Mr Horn knew that Ministers could not procure buildings for government entities.
On the TRC cases, there was new designated capacity for the cases. There were many reasons why these matters were not prioritised in the past, but there was now a focus on resolving those matters. The NDPP would be able to clarify the matters directly relating to those cases. He said that the question regarding what he had done to give effect to his duties in relation to the NPA was merely an attempt at immature political grandstanding, which he did not expect of Mr Horn. That question was not helpful nor necessary. There was no need to copy the EFF and say that he was a poster boy for the fight against corruption.
On CODESA, he was not aware of any agreements which provided that there would be no prosecutions of TRC matters. The NPA Act was clear with regard to what matters were to be prosecuted, and Adv Batohi could provide more detail on that. He understood the victims of the TRC matters frustrations. He had attended the Cradock Four memorial lecture, and had engaged with some of the victims. He had provided some insight into the progress of proceedings. It was hoped that the process going forward would be helpful to the victims, the community, and South Africa as a whole.
He said that the NPA had the necessary capacity to deal with the relevant matters, and Adv Batohi had been engaged with regard to starting to prepare for what would arise from the Zondo Commission. Hopefully, with the evidence given, the NPA could start to prepare itself for the issuing of the Zondo Commission report. In certain cases the Ministry approved specific cases brought by the NPA relating to investigations of high profile matters in order to speed up the processes.
The Chairperson thanked Minister Lamola for briefing the Committee and for responding to questions. He allowed Minister Lamola to leave the meeting and asked Adv Batohi to present.
National Prosecuting Authority briefing
Adv Cronje’s resignation
Adv Batohi, emphasised that the NPA was an incredibly important institution for South Africa. It was crucial that the focus was on improving and strengthening the NPA. She had previously acknowledged the important role the media played, but recently some of the reporting in the media was not factually correct. This undermined the institution.
She noted that the imminent departure of Adv Cronje had been widely reported on by the media. On Monday 6 December, she and her executive committee had conducted a media briefing which extensively covered this development. The briefing was planned as part of the NPA’s ongoing media engagement and was not the result of Adv Cronje’s announcement. Adv Cronje’s resignation was not a crisis, and there had been a lot of good work done in very challenging circumstances. It was often healthy to have new leadership to take an institution forward. There had been engagement with Adv Cronje, who had indicated her reasons for vacating office before the end of her term. The NPA understood those decisions. The NPA and the ID had to look forward, as they were crucial to fighting corruption.
She said that Adv Cronje had left the ID in a very good position to deliver important results in the near future. Despite the fact that the ID did not have all of its resources available, it was capable of making a positive impact. The ID had over 120 staff, including four dedicated substantive units, and two administrative and operations support divisions. There was a reasonably substantial budget, including a state of the art building. As a result, the transition period until Adv Cronje left would be well-managed. The end of the Zondo Commission was nearing, which would result in the ID and the NPA having to complete a lot of work. To ensure that the ID could effectively manage its work, cases would have to be strategically chosen.
The annual budget of the ID was approximately R107 m, which was expected to grow to R180 m in 2022. The ID had begun onboarding resources from the State Capture Commission to manage the process of submitting the report to the President. The NPA’s priority was to ensure that the ID was able to deliver on its mandate in the short and long term. The transition phase was to be managed by Adv Ouma Rabaji-Rasethaba, Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions: Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), NPA who would support Adv Cronje and her senior managers during the process. The NPA would simultaneously begin the process of searching for a new Head of the ID in close consultation with Minister Lamola. The process of appointing a new Head would be rigorous, to ensure that the right person was appointed. There would be no leadership gap. The ID was well-capacitated and had capable senior leadership which would continue to drive the work of the ID in the near future.
She said that the NPA was not in a crisis. She was confident that the NPA had a solid foundation. Adv Cronje’s resignation was a combination of various factors. In any high-stakes, high-pressure environment, there were bound to be tensions with regard to inter-personal relationships, but these tensions were worked through and worked out. At the end of the day, both she and Adv Cronje had the interests of South Africa at heart, and hence all the decisions made were made with this in view. The ID was under immense pressure to perform, but it could not operate merely by responding to this pressure as this would result in mistakes, which could not be tolerated.
It took a long time to establish a new entity within any organisation, especially within government. The Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC) had worked closely with Adv Cronje and the ID for about two years to build the ID’s capacity, improve governance, and enhance its service delivery. It was thus not surprising that it had taken just over two and a half years to get to the present point. The NPA had extremely skilled and dedicated prosecutors, and hence it had the capacity to prosecute corruption and complex crime.
Missing the Cradock Four prosecutorial decision deadline
Adv Batohi said that it had to be recalled that TRC matters, for various reasons, had not been prioritised in the past. It was extremely important for the victims of apartheid era crimes to receive justice. It was only in 2017 when investigations into these matters were, on paper, set to begin. However, the DPCI and the NPA had both faced various challenges which had resulted in their being a lack of dedicated capacity to properly deal with these matters. In 2020 she had met with Gen. Godfrey Lebeya, National Head, DPCI, to deal with the issue of TRC matters. She was very clear in that meeting that the NPA could not move on the TRC matters without a dedicated investigative capacity, as the NPA did not investigate. At that time the TRC matters were still being dealt with by the Priority Crimes Litigation Unit (PCLU) that was seized with TRC matters as well as other priority crimes. There was a very small capacity within the NPA to deal with a range of priority crimes. Hence, Gen. Lebeya had committed to the NPA that he would recruit investigators which would be dedicated to TRC matters, and she had simultaneously committed to the DPCI that the NPA would recruit dedicated prosecutors for TRC matters.
Hence, the recruitment process was not easy, and as such the TRC matters were being dealt with without the necessary capacity. It was realised earlier in 2021 that it was extremely important for the NPA to engage with the victims of the apartheid era crimes, and to keep them informed of the progress that the NPA was making. The NPA had been thanked by one such victim for addressing the relevant matters and keeping them updated on certain issues. Conversations were had with the lawyers of the relevant families, and a decision was made earlier in the year to establish a dedicated prosecutorial force within the National Prosecutions Service (NPS) under the direct supervision of Adv Rodney De Kock, Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions: NPS, NPA. Gen. Lebeya had also recruited dedicated investigators who were deployed in various parts of the country alongside the dedicated prosecutors.
There were 17 dedicated TRC investigators employed by the DPCI. The NPA had also provided dedicated TRC prosecutors. Five posts had been advertised in KwaZulu-Natal, two posts in the Western Cape, four in Grahamstown, one in the North West, three in Gauteng, four the NPS head office, one in Limpopo, one in the Northern Cape, one post in the Free State as well as in Mthatha. The NPA had considered the number of posts depended on the number of cases in each region.
Seven TRC cases were being attended to in the Eastern Cape, two in the Free State, eight in Johannesburg, 17 in KwaZulu-Natal, two in Limpopo, two in Mthatha, four in the North West, one in the Northern Cape, eight in Pretoria, and six in the Western Cape. There were 13 general TRC cases dealt with by the NPS head office. In total there were 103 TRC cases being dealt with.
The Chairperson asked for clarity on the discrepancy in the number of investigators, as Minister Lamola had mentioned 34 investigators and 23 prosecutors, and yet Adv Batohi mentioned only 17 investigators.
Adv Batohi said that the discrepancy would be addressed. She further said that although cases had been brought to court slowly, with the capacity that was put in place, over time more cases would be moved forward.
She said that in an effort to get the NPA to move faster on the Cradock Four case, the families had made an application to court to compel the NPA to issue a prosecutorial decision more quickly. While the matter was in court, the NPA had made a commitment to make such a decision by 2 December. This was dependent on investigations being completed. The prosecutors had handed the docket over to the lawyers representing the families, who subsequently identified a range of issues which required further investigations. It had thus become clear that the NPA would not meet the agreed deadline. Hence, Adv Barry Madolo, Director of Public Prosecutions: Eastern Cape Division, Mthatha, NPA, who was now directly involved in these matters, sent a letter on 1 December to indicate that the NPA could not meet the deadline. He attempted to inform the lawyers, but unfortunately it seemed that the letter did not reach the lawyers.
It was clear that the families had indicated that there was still a lot of investigations to be done. As she understood, on 7 December, Adv Madolo met the investigator for the families to determine how to move the case forward. The NPA had faced capacity challenges and were thus unable to conduct those investigations earlier. However, if a reasonable amount of time was given, the newly dedicated capacity could either begin to work efficiently or more changes would have to be made. As much as she understood the frustrations of the family, the NPA had to work with the family.
She said that the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) Four case had been brought to court, and people had been charged. This showed that, where the necessary evidence existed, cases were being prosecuted. Hence she requested that the NPA be given time to work with the DPCI to deal with the TRC cases properly. Fixing the NPA was critical to the future of the country. The NPA was rebuilding itself systematically, and hence it did not happen quickly. But good progress was being made. As an example, many of those high-profile criminals who had been flaunting their wealth gained by dishonest means in previous years were now hiding. Moving too fast could be counter-productive, and hence the NPA had to work meticulously. There was a considerable amount of evidence which prosecutors had to go through to ensure that cases were prosecuted as perfectly as possible so that there were no chances for criminals to escape.
She said that she would get the details regarding the investigators from Adv De Kock and would provide the correct information to the Committee when she responded to questions.
The Chairperson allowed the Members to ask questions.
Mr Dyantyi thanked Adv Batohi for briefing the Committee. He said that the Committee would have to go beyond personalities to address the real institutional issues. The Committee was interested in the service by the NPA of its core mandate, and the persons at the head of the institution could not distract the Committee from its task. He accepted Adv Batohi’s assertions that the NPA was not in a crisis, but the lack of stability, capacity, required skills, and operational efficiency in terms of its core mandate meant, in his view, that the NPA was wanting. It appeared that these critical areas did not seem to apply to the NPA, as it had many acting positions in various provinces, where the bulk of the work was done. Since Adv De Kock left his position in the Western Cape, it had not been permanently filled. This was the case in many other areas as well.
He said that if the NPA was not in a crisis, then it had a major problem. Many senior prosecutors had salary disputes with other employees of the NPA, with there sometimes being a discrepancy of over R20 000 in compensation. This, and other factors, had resulted in their being low morale in the NPA.
He hoped that Adv Cronje was able to speak to the Committee, because she could personally provide reasons for her resignation. There were three main areas that the ID was focussing on. Hence, he asked whether, in the coming three months before Adv Cronje’s resignation [took effect], there were any commitments that these aspects would be delivered on. He noted that the ID was tasked with dealing with corruption in the security sector, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and corruption which involved high-level public and private individuals. He asked if Adv Batohi could confirm, and assure the Committee, that the ID would deliver on these three tasks before Adv Cronje left. There had to be progress on these matters.
It was very clear that it took lawyers of the families to poke holes in the work of the NPA. This clearly showed that the NPA had operational issues and a lack of capacity. The Committee had to make the point that the reasons given by Adv Batohi for the issues surrounding the Cradock Four case were not persuasive nor compelling. He asked timelines to be given for progress reports, and for Adv Batohi to return to the Committee at a particular point in the future with tangible progress and reasons behind it. At this point, there was not much provided to allow for optimism.
Mr Horn confirmed that he agreed that the NPA was an incredibly important institution for the health of the constitutional democracy. When Adv Batohi took office, she came to the Committee with a detailed analysis of what was wrong with the NPA and a plan regarding how to rebuild the NPA. Time had progressed, and unfortunately it seemed that, apart from being informed that some foundation was being established, little tangible progress had been reported. The Committee had been informed that the Annual Report showed that little progress had been made. Adv Cronje had been put forward into the public spotlight as being the person to lead the fight for the ID. Hence, the public required transparency regarding her resignation. He could accept Adv Batohi saying that she would not unpack the interpersonal issues around the resignation, but he had to ask to what extent these interpersonal issues had contributed to the resignation. Could it be stated without fear of contradiction that those issues played no role?
Accepting that the NPA was not in a crisis, the current situation was at least a serious bump in the road. Whilst one could not bow to public pressure, the NPA still had the duty to do some critical introspection. Given that Adv Batohi should have all the information regarding what led to Adv Cronje’s resignation, she had to ask herself what she could have done differently and ask what the NPA as an institution could have done differently. He asked Adv Batohi for answers to these questions. If the interpersonal tensions were not at the heart of the resignation, then there had to be structural and institutional issues which were at the resignation’s heart. What were these issues? How would Adv Batohi and the NPA respond to ensure that Adv Cronje’s successor would not resign prematurely due to structural issues.
Looking beyond the five year scope of the ID, and assuming that either the ID or a successor investigative unit would become a permanent entity in this space, what was the long term vision of how this entity would operate? To what extent did the lack of certainty regarding the future of the ID contribute to Adv Cronje’s decision?
While he had some sympathy for any factually incorrect media reports undermining the work of the NPA, it had to be acknowledged that the media played an extremely important role in the democracy. Some of the media suggested that some of the tension in the NPA was not interpersonal, but rather due to a lack of results arising from an expenditure of about R400 m in respect of consultants who were at the time hired to ensure that the NPA took watertight cases to court. He asked if there was any truth to the claims that the R400 m had been spent but cases were still not ready for court? It was also suggested by the media that the fear of the NPA and ID about prosecuting cases unsuccessfully resulted in a cautious approach which resulted in a lack of movement. Although he understood the desire to ensure a watertight case, what was the tipping point when a decision was made to pursue a prosecution even though a case was not perfect?
He accepted that a dedicated capacity had been lacking. But he wanted to know how the capacity was being built if cases were not being taken to court, because he had understood that by taking less complex cases to court the necessary skills and capacity within the NPA would be developed to allow for the prosecution of more complex cases.
Mr Swart acknowledged the difficult situation that the NPA was in. He said that while the Committee would scrutinise the NPA, it understood and appreciated the work being done in light of the misgivings of the previous administration and the complexities of the matters being dealt with. The Committee was also under pressure to get answers from the NPA. He said that the Committee was deeply saddened by the resignation of Adv Cronje, and he thanked her for the work she did in establishing the ID.
He appreciated the lack of reasons given for Adv Cronje’s resignation, but one could glean certain reasons from the frustrations vented by Adv Cronje in her previous briefing in July. He asked Adv Batohi to refer to those frustrations so that the Committee could understand if they were being addressed and to what extent Parliament could help the NPA in addressing them, given that they may have contributed to Adv Cronje’s resignation. Some of those frustrations related to institutional impediments.
Firstly, there was the lack of skilled and capable investigators and prosecutors tasked with dealing with complex cases of the ID. Secondly, the dependence of the ID on personnel seconded from law enforcement partners because the NPA Act did not make provision for the permanent appointment of investigators to the NPA. This related to security of tenure, and was of a great concern. He asked to what degree this issue was being addressed. Thirdly, Adv Cronje had mentioned a skills shortage, particularly with regard to the recruitment of financial investigators, critical litigation skills, and sustainable remuneration rates. Fourthly, the delays in obtaining resources and facilities in respect of the State Capture Commission. He appreciated that the forensic laboratory was being set up and its use was in the process of being transferred from the Zondo Commission to the ID. He asked if the Committee could get an idea as to how this was progressing, as well as the transfer of the investigators to the ID and their tenure.
Fifthly, the slow procurement processes within government were a delaying factor. Finally, the digital and commercial investigation capability, which was critical, was also lacking. One could speculate that all of these frustrations could constitute reasons for Adv Cronje’s resignation. He asked for Adv Batohi’s comments on this. It was understood that Adv Rabaji-Rasethaba would assist Adv Cronje in the transition. However, considering the challenges faced by the AFU, how would it manage with Adv Rabaji-Rasethaba assisting Adv Cronje? Would this not negatively impact the AFU? Were the challenges with the Hawks and the preparation of certain dockets perhaps reasons for Adv Cronje’s resignation? How was the relationship between the ID and the Hawks presently?
He noted that the ID’s budget would increase, but he asked if it could be fair to expect the ID to deal with all the complex cases it was given with the budgetary constraints it faced. Looking at the Eskom matter, could it be a possibility for Eskom to fund the prosecutorial matters and forensic investigations as had happened in the Steinhoff matter? It made no sense to cut the budget when the ID could recover its expenditure through the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), unless there was not political will to support the work of the ID. The Members had to accept responsibility for that, but they also had to hold the NPA and ID accountable for their actions. Given the fact that an undertaking was given by the NPA to meet the 2 December deadline, and this was subsequently not complied with, would that litigation continue?
Adv Breytenbach said she understood the size of the job which Adv Batohi faced when she took office, and she understood how complex the cases were and how much effort and expertise was required to prosecute cases successfully. However, three years had gone by, and there was very little progress. She was sure that there had been a lot of background progress, but that was not what the public needed to see. Adv Batohi knew that the public was hungry for results. It was not good enough to keep saying that patience was needed, as the public’s patience had run out. The Committee was tasked with oversight and had to represent the public to ask difficult questions. South Africans needed to see results. The NPA had to do its job.
She interrupted her question and asked that another Member take her place while she attended to a matter.
Ms Maseko-Jele said that a lot was still expected of Adv Cronje, and she had been reporting to the Committee, so whoever replaced her would have to reach the same level of engagement. She said that Adv Cronje’s resignation was a setback for the emancipation and empowerment of women. She asked whether the NPA considered replaced Adv Cronje with a woman, and if not why. The Committee had just received the progress report indicating that investigative work had begun in 2017 for the TRC matters. In five years, not much progress had been made. She understood the complexities of the cases, but the delayed prosecutions really undermined justice. The TRC matters were very important in uniting the country, and if they were going to be handled in such a slow manner, it would not help the country. Five years was too long, especially considering that only 57 families had been engaged with respect to their cases. Was that all that could be done? These 57 may only be the families of the high-profile apartheid era cases, but what about the families of other victims who were unable to get media attention?
She suggested that the Committee could assist the families of the victims. The Committee should place emphasis on these matters to ensure that progress was monitored, and that people received closure. The Committee had to be given a report indicating which individuals or families of the TRC had not been engaged or consulted.
Adv Breytenbach said that Adv Cronje was not a faint-hearted woman, who knew what the job pertained when she took office. She was thus not convinced by the suggestion that her resignation was not odd and that everything was fine within the NPA. The Committee had been left in the dark, as was the public. She was very concerned about the lack of transparency, and she was not expecting to be given any more information. It was very unlike Adv Cronje to leave a project prematurely.
She said that Adv Batohi had mentioned that the ID was only dealing with a small percentage of matters, focussing on the most complex and highest profile cases, with the remainder being dealt with by the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit (SCCU). She asked for a breakdown of these cases, so that the Committee could understand how many matters were being dealt with by the ID and the SCCU respectively. How was the SCCU capacitated to deal with the massive influx of work? She had no doubt that the bulk of the Zondo Commission work would also fall on the SCCU. It took a lot of time for a prosecutor to become experienced, skilled, and specialised, so what proactive steps were being taken to ensure that the SCCU was fully capacitated to deal with this?
When the ID ceased to exist in less than three years’ time, what would happen to all of the cases it was handling? Adv Cronje’s resignation clearly showed that the NPA had to be looking to and planning for the future. Adv Batohi had referred to Stalingrad tactics being used. Section 342(a) of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 dealt with that sort of thing. A portion of section 342(a) relating to cost orders had not yet been promulgated. She asked whether Adv Batohi thought the promulgation of that section would help mitigate the use of Stalingrad tactics. If so, the Committee had to be told so it could assist in that process.
She said that Adv Batohi had a somewhat harsh approach to the media, but to suggest that the press should not criticise was unfair. If there was proper engagement between the NPA and the media there would be no reliance on incorrect material. Prior to Adv Batohi’s appointment, the public had been largely reliant on investigative journalists for insight. Hence, the press should be acknowledged for their good work.
She was confused as to the role of the PCLU if it was not dealing with TRC matters. She understood the PCLU as being the unit established to deal with those matters. A lot of time had passed since those crimes had occurred, and there was still no justice for most of the victims. Getting justice for those victims and their families was extremely important to ensure that the public was not failed. She understood that the Cradock Four matter had dragged on despite personal commitments being made, which subsequently were not met. Litigation was then instituted and later suspended after being in case management, on the basis of an understanding that the NPA would make a decision by 2 December. This undertaking made to the judge should have held some weight. The prosecutors involved should have been aware that they were not going to meet the deadline and should have engaged with both the judge and the lawyers representing the families to say that the deadline would not be met, provide reasons therefore, and ask for an extension. The failure of the letter to reach the recipients was unacceptable. More could and should have been done in that regard.
Mr X Nqola (ANC) said that one would have expected the NPA to have written to the lawyers of the families to explain that the deadline could not be met. The explanation of Adv Batohi that the recipients seemingly did not receive the letter was an ambiguous one. Procedure was moving away from using letters, with modern technology providing an alternative means of sending that correspondence. The NPA should not use the issues around post as an excuse for its failure to meet the deadline.
He asked, given the evidence and resources available to the NPA, for a timeframe on the resumption of prosecution of the apartheid era crimes. 27 years had passed since the institution of democracy, yet prosecution was still pending on crimes that had been declared as crimes against humanity. The Committee had to pay particular detail on these issues, and had to make sure that there was proper reporting on the progression of the TRC cases.
He said the Committee had asked Adv Batohi to attend to the disputes between black prosecutors and NPA management, particularly in the Eastern Cape. But, as things stood, it appeared that the problem was worse than when it was first discussed. There had been no improvement in the situation and the accusations laid against the relevant managers still stood. He asked whether any progress had been made in mitigating this problem, as it created a very negative workplace environment. Had the NPA made an internal effort to resolve the issue so that the NPA could resume operations effectively?
Mr Hendricks said that it was encouraging to hear Adv Batohi say that the families of the victims of the TRC crimes should work closely with the NPA in dealing with their cases. He asked whether there had been any engagement and cooperation with the legal teams of Imam Abdullah Haron and Chief Albert Luthuli. The Hawks had shown the family of Albert Luthuli the files two years ago, and since then nothing had happened. He asked for a case number for the Cradock Four matter as well as for the 67 families referred to, as this would at least give the families some comforts. It appeared that professional conflicts were harming the democracy. The disappearing of the email was a clear example of Stalingrad tactics that should be dealt with on the basis of defeating the ends of justice. It was now five Parliaments which had failed to carry out the directives of the TRC, and the NPA could not allow this to carry on to six Parliaments.
Adv Batohi said that moving forward there was definitely a focus on the TRC matters. But, looking to the past, that focus was not there then, so it was unfair to place all of the blame and scrutiny at the feet of the present NPA. She said she had the same questions as the Members regarding why the TRC matters were previously neglected. The prior treatment of the TRC matters was unacceptable. She made it clear that the NPA did not investigate, it prosecuted. The NPA worked very closely with the DPCI and the families and their representatives to conduct complete investigations. The NPA was committed to maintaining cooperation.
She said that the media was an incredibly important stakeholder for the NPA, and the role it played was crucial and appreciated. However, the NPA appealed for responsible reporting. She repeated that in any institution where there were high-stakes, there was bound to be professional conflict and tension. She confirmed that there were professional tensions. But, as heads of entities, one did not leave merely due to professional tension. There were a range of issues which led to the decision being taken that Adv Cronje would resign. It was important that the head of the NPA and ID were closely aligned on matters of strategy, case prioritisation and management, and other matters, all of which could lead to potential conflicts.
Adv De Kock said he acknowledged and welcomed the constructive recommendations made by the Members regarding the work of the TRC. The NPA recognised the degree of urgency with which the TRC matters had to be handled, and as a result, the NPA had mobilised its resources in alignment with the resources of the DPCI to ensure that capable people were tasked with carrying the workload. The NPA had engaged the DPCI and had agreed on a strategic approach to be implemented to complete the residual issues relating to the TRC. The NPA had created a capacity within the head office of the NDPP to address all of the matters in collaboration with the head office of the DPCI. The way forward was for the members of the DPCI and the NPA to work together on a daily basis to improve on the prior approach.
Subsequent to the initial meetings, the NPA had a workshop with the DPCI whereby it was agreed that there would be national direction and strategic leadership provided to ensure that the TRC work was urgently resolved. Further, there would be a national decision when any matter was referred for investigation so that prosecutors could work very closely with the investigators to reach a determination about whether there was sufficient evidence to prosecute. Where it was decided that there was insufficient evidence, the NPA would have an inquest so that the evidence could be placed before a competent court. This process, which allows for the giving of evidence, had already begun, and allowed for there to be closure, even if a prosecution could not be instituted. This would enable the court to make a decision as to liability.
He said that Gen Lebeya and the leadership of the DPCI as well as the NPA had committed that the TRC matters would be finalised. At a regional level, a number of people had been appointed to positions of Directors of Public Prosecutions, to ensure that TRC cases were handled locally. This work would not be done in isolation. These foundational blocks had been put in place, and this had allowed for some numbers to be determined. Gen Lebeya had confirmed that there were 34 investigators, but that 17 of them were deployed to the NPA unit at the time when Adv Batohi gathered the figures. The number of investigators had recently increased to 40, and there was a suggestion that this number would increase further. There was thus a recognition that more investigators were needed, and the DPCI was in the process of acting in accordance with that recognition. There was thus substantial progress, because not too long ago there were no investigators exclusively tasked with handling TRC matters.
The NPA would soon have 25 prosecutors dedicated to TRC matters. Over and above this, there was a management group which would assist those prosecutors and provide guidance, and further, if more capacity was needed, the non-dedicated prosecutorial force of the NPA could be used. Going forward, the NPA would work very closely with the families of all of the victims, and this had already begun. The prosecutors and investigators had met with the family of Imam Haron. In fact, that was the family Adv Batohi mentioned when she spoke about the NPA receiving a letter thanking them for their engagement and commitment. He was awaiting a further report, as he had recently received a letter from the lawyers asking for an update on the investigation. The NPA was receiving letters on a daily basis from lawyers and other parties asking to be kept informed, and the NPA was going out of its way to ensure that these requests were answered.
He acknowledged that things were not perfect, but emphasised that the NPA was doing its best in the interim. The prosecutors were also engaging with the family of Chief Luthuli and the relevant lawyers. The NPA had taken the approach of wanting to engage and work together with every relevant party. In relation to the Cradock Four matter, there was a private investigator, who had been engaged by the NPA to ensure that the matter progressed effectively.
He acknowledged that the issue relating to the deadline in the Cradock Four matter should have been handled better. The prosecutors involved should have indicated the need for an extension at an earlier stage. This error would be corrected going forward. Adv Madolo had indicated that he would rearrange how the matter would be managed going forward. He had committed that the outstanding work and investigation would be completed as soon as possible. The docket for the Cradock Four matter was disclosed to the lawyers of the families, and with additional information, those lawyers wrote a letter three days before the deadline indicating that they had identified 23 additional witnesses who should potentially have been interviewed. The prosecutorial approach of the NPA was to look at all the information and the investigation, and determine whether any value would be added by expanding that investigation further. Hence, just because the lawyers identified 23 potential witnesses did not mean that the prosecutors had disregarded those witnesses and their potential evidence. He did not have all the necessary details, except to say that both the lawyers and the Director of Public Prosecutions agreed that there was not sufficient time to complete the investigation by 2 December.
It should be accepted that things could have been done better, and communication had to be strengthened with the families, the public, the relevant lawyers and other stakeholders. This would all be written up into a directive from the head office to all Directors of Public Prosecutions to ensure that collaboration was enhanced across the board.
Adv Batohi said that she had not accurately depicted what had happened regarding the deadline. She explained that Adv Madolo had sent a letter to the national office indicating a need for further investigation. There was then a communication to the State Attorney, to inform the applicants’ lawyers that the NPA would not meet the deadline. She understood that the State Attorney then contacted the lawyers of the applicants to communicate this state of affairs.
Adv Rabaji-Rasethaba said that she had been working with Adv Cronje since she returned to the NPA. The ID was finalising its papers on one of the high-impact cases in the State Capture. There were very experienced prosecutors tasked with dealing with the high-profile public and private sector cases. The NPA annual report had indicated that there were eight cases in that space being attended to by many prosecutors. In one such case, the ID had obtained an unlimited restraint order for the Gupta assets. The details of all of the assets seized by the NPA were available in the annual report.
There was a very experienced advocate dealing with security sector cases. There were two major cases, which were being handled by a few prosecutors. The details could be provided if requested. The team handling these cases were led by Adv Louw. In September, he was the most affected by the pandemic as 15 members were impacted by Covid-19. Cases were still taken to court despite this.
In terms of the SOE aspect, the NPA was dealing with four legs within the Transnet space and five legs within the Eskom space. In one of the cases in the Eskom space, the NPA had obtained a R1.4 billion asset forfeiture order. She said that she had she had the records of all the cases which the NPA had taken to court. In July, at the height of the pandemic, when one of the lead investigators had passed away, the NPA appeared in court eight times. In August, the NPA went to court seven times. She was awaiting the statistics for September, but the NPA did appear in court on 6 September, for the case relating to the forfeiture of the Gupta assets, where the restraint order was confirmed. The ID was now well-poised to deal with all of these cases.
On the impact that supporting Adv Cronje may have on the AFU, she said that for the past 20 years, the work of the AFU had been done with only three regional heads. Minister Lamola had recently approved the appointment of four regional heads, effective 7 December. Hence, AFU now had seven regional heads in total, which meant that she could assist the work of the ID without there being a negative impact on the AFU. There was also a decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal which confirmed that the NPA could go to court ex parte for freezing orders without explaining the urgency of the matter if the merits of the case supported this. This decision was extremely helpful, as the AFU had been hampered in Mpumalanga by not receiving orders because the court directives required the AFU to make out a case for urgency.
On whether the ID would lose a lot of important knowledge when Adv Cronje left, she said that she had been working with Adv Cronje for a long time, and if Adv Cronje decided to return to the Bar, the NPA and particularly the AFU would hope to work alongside her again. She assured the Committee that no knowledge would be lost. She believed that she was well-positioned to assist the ID with the transition, and the teams were very committed to ensuring that the work continued effectively. She was of the view that high-profile cases would be brought to the court in the near future.
She said that there were five game-changers, one of which was the idea of establishing corruption courts. This idea would be explored and a recommendation would be given in the future. The work for the non-trial resolutions that the NPA was exploring, particularly for corporate matters, had been completed, and some settlements should be negotiated in the near future to increase accountability with those entities. She emphasised that the ID was well-poised for the future, and would be able to move forward. She assured the Committee that the work done would continue.
Adv Anton du Plessis, Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions: Strategy, Operations, and Compliance, NPA, said that the NPA was not suggesting that all of the support required had been provided. He made it clear that there was still a long way to go within the context of the frustrating bureaucracy in which the NPA found itself. The NPA would sometimes want things to move faster than they actually did. It was important to recognise that there were bureaucratic and compliance obstacles which had to be navigated.
On the lack of skilled investigators and prosecutors, the nature and complexities of State Capture was on a completely different level to the matters which one could reasonably expect skilled prosecutors and investigators to handle. Even the most advanced democracies in the world would struggle with the terabytes of data involved. South Africa was infamous for its high level of crime, including organised crime and corruption. Hence, additional skills and innovation was needed, particularly in a context where there were fiscal and bureaucratic constraints.
One of the challenges with the ID was that it was set up as a temporary structure under a proclamation within a less than perfect legal architecture and within the sphere of bureaucratic constraints. The NPA had tried to move ahead with an organisational design program where it could become a permanent entity, especially as the NPA transitioned from the Zondo Commission resources. The 120 staff members of the ID would hopefully be increased to 200 by the end of 2022. Of those, more than 50 members would be permanent. The design program had not been completed, and the ID would still have to sign off on it, but this was aimed to be done by March in order to bring some much needed stability in terms of security of tenure. About 23 digital forensic capacities would be brought onboard, as would six investigators, and 16 leaders from the Zondo Commission who would become part of the organisational design process.
On the skills in the private sector, the NPA had to ensure that it engaged in the sector acceptably so as to maintain its independence. The use of these skills was becoming more common, and the NPA had to join in on this process without creating a perception of private influence or actual private influence. The transition of the digital forensic laboratory used by the Zondo Commission had progressed, but it was a tricky situation due to the extension granted to the Zondo Commission. It was now known that this would be resolved by the end of December, after which the laboratory would be used by the NPA. The new ID building had the space for the relevant hardware, and the necessary training processes had begun.
The NPA would need support in terms of how it went about broadening engagement in the private sector and within government departments, and this was where the Committee could greatly assist. The Committee could also assist the NPA by ensuring that it had the required budget to deal with all the cases it was tasked with handling. Finally, the NPA was only as strong as the weakest link in the criminal justice system, and it was not only the NPA which required capacity and skills and resources, but also its partners within the system. The entire system had to be fixed, otherwise it would not work. The Committee could thus engage and work with the other relevant Portfolio Committees to ensure that the entire criminal justice system and its entities were adequately resourced and functioning optimally.
He noted that the issue of the salary discrepancy was a longstanding problem that had dampened morale in the NPA and had to be resolved. The Supreme Court of Appeal had recently decided on this matter, and the NPA had subsequently started a focussed initiative to address the issue over the coming months. The NPA would engage with the Committee as well as Minister Lamola on this matter, and it hoped to deal with the salary dispensation in order to finally resolve the issue.
Adv Batohi said that a task team had been established with representatives from all of the offices of the affected group to discuss various options for a possible new dispensation for the level of Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions and Chief Prosecutors and to develop new options and make firm proposals to Minister Lamola to deal with the untenable situation. She asked for the support of the Committee for non-trial resolutions, which was seen as a controversial matter, but in truth was not as they were used in the NPS to deal expeditiously with matters and to recover money quickly. She also appealed for the Committee to support the NPA in its calls for amendments to the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 121 of 1998. The NPA had engaged with the DoJ&CD, but this matter had to be prioritised in the legislative program, and it was concerning that it was not.
She said that the NPA had also made many proposals for the amending of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 before the final draft of the amendment was moved, but regrettably many of those proposals had been disregarded. As such, the NPA now had to engage in the normal process of consultations moving forward. She hoped the Committee would support the NPA in this regard as well.
She emphasised that the NPA and the ID had to pay careful attention to prioritising particular cases in the near future to tackle crime optimally. She said that details would be gathered on the percentage of cases being dealt with by the SCCU and a document containing that would be provided to the Committee on completion. There was a lot of work being done in terms of the effort being made to increase the skills and capacity in the SCCU. A report had been sent to the Chairperson two weeks before indicating that there was a task team set up to deal with the disputes in the Eastern Cape. An investigation had been conducted, but it appeared that the disputes were continuing. Adv Madolo was asked to manage the Grahamstown division and engage with the prosecutors and managers concerned in order to better deal with the situation. She agreed that it was an untenable situation, and it was hoped that it would be resolved quickly.
On the issue of the Director of Public Prosecutions posts, she said they were presidential appointments. That process had taken longer than it should have, but she hoped that the NPA would be able to send recommendations to Minister Lamola for all of the outstanding positions before the end of the year. She also hoped those appointments would be fast-tracked by the President. She said that the NPA would ensure that whoever replaced Adv Cronje was the best person for the position. In all probability, her successor would be a woman.
The Deputy Minister said that he, like Minister Lamola, was unaware of any secret agreements undertaken during CODESA that had the effect of hindering prosecutions in the TRC matters until claims started surfacing recently. He was however aware that during those negotiations the African National Congress (ANC) had opposed a blanket amnesty and had been determined to agree to a specific amnesty, as was ultimately done in the TRC process. He noted that although there had not been many prosecutions, there had been one very high-profile prosecution of the former Minister of Police and Commissioner of Police who were convicted for attempted murder of Reverend Frank Chikane. That conviction provided evidence that there was no such secret agreement.
Follow-up questions and responses
The Chairperson said that there seemed to be a lack of investment in succession planning within various governmental entities, which resulted in delays in appointing successors. He asked how the NPA would deal with that issue, as part of sustaining an organisation was conducting that planning.
Adv Batohi agreed with the Chairperson and said that she did not think government had a culture of succession planning, which was a problem in government. It had to be understood that while the NPA was focused on empowering members of previously disadvantaged groups, prosecutors who were black and/or female had become very attractive to private entities outside of the NPA and government, which meant that the NPA lost those people very quickly. Very often, when submitting recommendations for positions to Minister Lamola, the response received by the NPA would be that of questioning why there were no black women recommended. The response to that would be that that was one of the challenges the NPA faced. Further, there were very stringent recruitment requirements imposed. Hence, it was important to implement a proper plan for succession to ensure that capable persons were not poached from the NPA. She had raised this issue with Minister Lamola as well.
Mr Nqola noted that the specific turnaround time on the investigations and/or prosecutions of the Cradock Four matter had not been set. He thus requested the NPA to provide the Committee with the turnaround time on the matter. There were many apartheid crimes that ought to be prosecuted, and if there was no effective progress on one matter, the prosecutions of the various other cases would only happen in the next 10 years or so. The Committee had to be given specific turnaround times on this matter, and it was unacceptable for there to be a bottomless approach.
Adv Batohi said that the NPA would engage with the prosecutors and investigators. Further, Adv Madolo was engaging with the relevant investigator. After that engagement, a written response could be provided to the Committee containing timeframes for the deliverables. The NPA would continue to work closely with the families and the legal representatives of the TRC matters, but the reality was that in many of these cases there would not be prosecution due to various challenges. She assured the Committee that the NPA was not merely taking on cases involving families who were putting pressure on the NPA to get a judgment. In fact, when the NPA dealt with the matter regarding the deaths of persons in detention, it went further than merely focusing on the high-profile death and worked simultaneously on a case relating to a connected death that was not high-profile. The NPA wanted to get justice for all of the relevant families, particularly those without the means to put pressure on prosecution.
On 13 December, the NPA would have to file an answering affidavit in the Cradock Four matter. More information would come to light as a result of that. It was important for there to be collaboration, and it would be great for reconciliation if families could move away from litigation and seek non-trial resolutions.
The Chairperson wished Adv Cronje all the best in her new endeavours. He thanked her for all the work she had done, and hoped that the Committee would engage with her in the future. He thought it would be best to receive timelines from the NPA on when the NPA would finalise and present its proposals for the amendment of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act. He confirmed Mr Dyatyi’s request for an urgent meeting to receive timelines for the TRC prosecutions, and details pertaining to the families and individuals concerned. The Committee would have to meet with the NPA and other relevant parties on a quarterly basis to receive updates on the progress made on the TRC cases. Each day that passed made it much more difficult to prosecute those cases. All actions taken in relation to those cases had to be considered in view of the Preamble of the Constitution. If the question had to be asked whether the NPA had acted on accordance with the Preamble in handling the TRC matters, the answer would be a very painful no.
Going forward, there would have to be more engagements. The Committee would have to meet with Minister Lamola at the beginning of 2022 to receive a progress report on the appointment of the investigating judge. It would be expected at that time that the judge would have been appointed. Minister Lamola would have to provide a written response on that matter by 25 January. Clear timelines had to be provided by Minister Lamola on the appointments of the provincial Directors of Public Prosecutions, and hopefully he ensured that the President made those appointments urgently.
The Committee was not one which believed in endeavours, but rather one which believed in clear project timelines, as that could be monitored. At least by June, all provinces should have Directors of Public Prosecutions, and all senior management positions should be filled. The Committee further expected a paper on the issue of non-trial resolutions by March, as the Committee would not agree to something it did not understand. Besides the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, he asked which other potential legislative amendments would be able to assist the NPA in delivering on its mandate.
Over the past two years, the NPA had contributed to the negative performance of the DoJ&CD. When the Department performed below 50%, its actual performance was 51% before taking into account that of the NPA. When Department’s performance was 70%, once the NPA was considered, this figure decreased to 66%. It was important for a detailed response or briefing on the Supreme Court of Appeal judgment on the issue of the prosecutors and the NPA’s proposals thereto to be given to the Committee early in 2022. The Committee would also have to have a dedicated meeting with the NPA to be briefed on the progress made with respect to the disputes in the Eastern Cape.
He thanked Minister Lamola, the Deputy Minister, as well as Adv Batohi and the management of the NPA for being present in the meeting and briefing the Committee. He noted that when the Committee asked difficult questions it was only because those were the questions which the public needed to be asked.
The meeting was adjourned.
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