The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is one of the most important institutions in the country. It is responsible for dispensing justice without fear or favor, and without regard for social or political standing.
The NPA has, however, been a fraught environment ever since its establishment, seemingly never able to recover from former head Bulelani Ngcuka’s controversial decision not to prosecute Jacob Zuma for corruption in the early 2000s – a lifetime ago.
Ever since then it has become a target for political manipulation, first by former president Thabo Mbeki, and then later by Jacob Zuma, who subdued it exactly to his liking.
With the appointment of Shamila Batohi as the prosecution’s head, the hope was that the NPA would soon be restored and that captured criminals will quickly be carted off to prison. But the reality is much different, and the resignation of Hermione Cronje as Batohi’s head of the NPA’s Investigative Directorate has again shone a light on the exceedingly difficult task Batohi has.
She has to restore the NPA, change its internal culture and ensure that prosecutions happen without delay. This is an often hostile environment where the loss of skills and institutional knowledge is acute. Not to mention budgetary and other constraints.
Today our specialist legal writer Karyn Maughan tries to chart a way forward for the NPA and highlights five potential keys to success. I argue that Batohi and another public whipping horse, Andre de Ruyter, should have each other on speed dial because they’re fighting the same battles. And it’s a battle South Africa cannot afford them to lose. Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits help me in my arguments…
Pieter du Toit
Assistant Editor: In-depth news
South Africa needs to empower corruption busters – and here are five ways to do it
Investigating Directorate head Hermione Cronje’s resignation from the NPA has highlighted just how severely constrained the state is in tackling South Africa’s devastating levels of fraud and corruption. But, as Karyn Maughan writes, there are solutions.
Dire straits: Batohi and De Ruyter are digging up dirt, and battling state capture
The severity of the situations at the NPA and Eskom are remarkably similar. Both institutions were prime sites of state capture, and both have internal cultures of poor performance and political subservience. That’s why Shamila Batohi and Andre de Ruyter should be best friends, writes Pieter du Toit.
South Africa’s corruption busters: Short-changed on funding and political commitment
Zukiswa Kota argues that South Africa is not doing enough to transform the state of “corrupts in extremis”, writing that key regulatory and oversight agencies such as the National Prosecuting Authority are underfunded.