DA wants review on NPA's effectiveness

2014-12-09 20:15
Shrien Dewani (File: AFP)

Shrien Dewani (File: AFP)

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Cape Town – The DA is calling on the justice ministry to launch a review of the state and effectiveness of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) given the judgment handed down in the Shrien Dewani murder case.

Glynnis Breytenbach, the DA shadow minister of justice, said the party will write to Justice and Correctional Services Minster Michael Masutha and the chairperson of the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services, Mathole Motshekga, requesting that the portfolio committee launch the review.

In a statement Breytenbach said: “This comes after reports allege that an excess of R5m was spent to extradite and try Shrien Dewani for the murder of his wife in Cape Town four years ago.”

Western Cape High Court Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso on Monday granted Dewani's application for his discharge on the charge of killing his wife Anni in November 2010.

Traverso ruled there was not enough evidence to convict Dewani. She said it was regrettable that many unanswered questions remained about what happened the night Anni was killed, but she could not be swayed by public opinion.

“Indeed it is unusual to make credibility findings at this stage of the prosecution. Furthermore, Judge Traverso granted a section 174 despite a lengthy extradition hearing which demonstrated a prima facie case,” Breytenbach said.

“In the State’s protracted efforts and spending to get Dewani to return to South Africa to stand trial, it would appear that the NPA indeed did not have a solid case to present in the first place.”

She said this raised serious questions about how the NPA decides which cases to prosecute.

On Monday the NPA said it respects the decision to acquit the British businessman.

"When you take matters to court, we're always alive to the fact that there are two possibilities: either there is conviction or there is acquittal," NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube said outside the Western Cape High Court.

He said prosecution could not stop simply because of the possibility of acquittal.

The NPA's responsibility was to take matters to court where it believed there was sufficient and credible evidence, he said.

Masutha has also requested a full report from the NPA, detailing the investigation and prosecution of the Dewani case and the lack of guilty verdicts in two other prominent murders: The case against Oscar Pistorius and the investigation into the murder of Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa.

Masutha has demanded the report on why this and other high profile cases have been lost by State prosecutors after Dewani’s not guilty verdict was announced.

"He wants to reflect on how the system has fared in all these high profile cases that have been negatively reported," said Mthunzi Mhaga, spokesperson for justice ministry.

"Negative reporting to him means criticism of the system."




Read more on:    da  |  npa  |  jeanette traverso  |  michael masutha  |  glynnis breytenbach  |  cape town  |  crime  |  dewani trial

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