DA: NPA restructuring continuing
Cape Town - Justice Minister Jeff Radebe "is sadly misinformed" if he thinks National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Menzi Simelane has stopped restructuring the NPA, the Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday.
Simelane had not honoured the instructions of both Radebe and President Jacob Zuma to stop restructuring the National Prosecuting Authority, party spokesperson Dene Smuts said.
In written reply to a parliamentary question by Smuts, Radebe said Simelane had halted restructuring the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) and Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit (SCCU).
"As communicated previously, I had advised that the restructuring be halted as consideration of the capacity and alignment of the organisation should take into account the new outcomes performance regime, recently adopted by Cabinet.
"Operationally, the Directors of Public Prosecutions (DPP) are prosecuting commercial cases within their areas of jurisdiction and continuing to report to the Deputy Directors of Public Prosecutions (DDPP) in the office of the NDPP," Radebe said.
Smuts said on Tuesday Radebe "either thinks, or is advised, or feels forced to say" that Simelane had halted restructuring the AFU and SCCU.
However, it was clear from Simelane's replies to her questions in the justice portfolio committee on August 11, that he was proceeding with the strategic plan presented to the same committee on April 13, and which she reported to both Radebe and Zuma.
"Both minister and president, suitably shocked, then said they had stopped such shenanigans. So why haven't they?" she asked.
Why was the NDPP being allowed to get away with this?
"Why does the minister of justice say, without blushing, that 'operationally the Directors of Public Prosecutions are prosecuting commercial cases within their areas of jurisdiction and continuing to report to the Deputy Directors of Public Prosecutions in the office of the NDPP'?
"It is not the DPPs (the provincial attorney generals of old) or their offices who are supposed to report to the DDPPs, Messrs Willie Hofmeyr and Chris Jordaan, for these purposes; it is their own staff, appointed in terms of their own Act and in terms of Presidential Proclamation," Smuts said.
Simelane had introduced a new concept - the dotted reporting line.
The units, described as recently as the justice budget vote in May this year by Radebe as "key pillars in the fight against crime", and which were supposed to report to their own heads, now had to report along "a solid line" to the provincial DPPs and along "a dotted line" to their legislated heads.
Various heads in the DPP offices now did reports and submitted these to the office of the NDPP for Jordaan and Hofmeyr "to have a look at".
"I have said since April 13th that the units are being decapitated. All that has changed is that they are being cut (off) along the dotted line in defiance of the minister and the president, who promised me in the National Assembly that restructuring had been stopped," Smuts said.