The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says it is steadily rebuilding the institution “after years of being undermined” by those who pursued State capture.
The prosecutorial body was responding to the release of the first tranche of the State Capture report.
In the report penned by the State Capture Commission chairperson, Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the NPA was lashed for its “failure… to have responded adequately, or at all, to the challenges of State capture” and recommended a “thorough re-appraisal of the structure of the NPA in order to understand the causes and the nature of its institutional weaknesses”.
In a statement, the NPA said it has not shied away from conceding the challenges it faces.
“National Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Shamila Batohi, has publicly acknowledged the challenges facing the NPA, including in its efforts to prosecute high-level corruption matters. The NDPP has also highlighted the associated challenges facing the NPA’s law enforcement counterparts, and the impact this has on the NPA’s ability to prosecute complex crimes,” the statement read.
The NPA further acknowledged that rebuilding the institution would not be easily attainable nor quick.
“Yet, significant progress has been made, and the NPA is slowly but surely being rebuilt to enable it to deliver on its vital mandate. The NPA will also continue prioritising internal processes to ensure that any prosecutors engaged in acts of criminality or improper conduct, including in the context of state capture, are dealt with effectively and fairly.”
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The prosecuting authority stressed that its independence from any influence is crucial for it to carry out its mandate to prosecute wrongdoers.
“[Given] the importance of avoiding the future capture of the NPA, or any other state institution, which brought South Africa close to financial collapse, it is crucial that the NPA’s de jure and de facto independence be assured, including in terms of its relationship with the Executive and in the manner in which the NPA’s senior leadership is appointed.
“As the NPA ramps up the prosecution of those implicated in state capture, it is crucial that its actions are, and are seen to be, independent of any undue influence. Anything short of this, will undermine South African’s trust and confidence in the rule of law and due process, which is, for various reasons, already at concerningly low levels.”