Radebe not honest about NPA’s flaws

2013-06-02 10:00

A seasoned politician with many years experience, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe should have done better this week trying to defend the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Grilled after his budget speech in Parliament, the affable justice minister became annoyed and told journalists the proof of the NPA’s success is South Africa’s overcrowded prisons. Who is Radebe trying to fool?

Conviction rates is only one success factor for the NPA, and a controversial one at that.

The Institute for Security Studies warned last year that using conviction rates alone could easily skew the true picture.

Quoting from internal NPA documentation, the Institute for Security Studies referred to a US study that concluded “any system which pays attention to conviction rates, as opposed to the number of convictions, is liable to abuse”.

The point of the study was to show how prosecutors could manipulate their success by deciding to prosecute fewer cases. If you choose to prosecute only one out of 100 cases, and you are successful with that one, your conviction rate is 100%.

The study further showed that about 1?million new cases are enrolled in the South African criminal justice system each year, but only 325 000 are finalised. What happens to the rest?

Radebe’s explanation had another fatal flaw. On the same day, his Cabinet colleague, S’bu Ndebele, revealed that more than 40 000 of the country’s 152 000 prisoners were awaiting trial. If you removed them from the equation, our prisons wouldn’t be overcrowded.

Radebe’s speech came two days after the NPA suffered a devastating defeat against itself by losing 15-0 in the disciplinary hearing against top prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach.

The NPA’s public image is at an all-time low, stumbling from one public disaster to the next. The list of NPA failures continues to grow: Fidentia, Glenn Agliotti, Andries Tatane, Dave King, Radovan Krejcir, Robert McBride.

Why is Radebe afraid to admit that this once proud institution is a shadow of its former self?

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.