Ramaphosa appoints head of new NPA investigating unit

2019-05-17 15:15
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Gulshan Khan, AFP)

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Gulshan Khan, AFP)

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed advocate Hermione Cronje as head of the new Investigating Directorate at the NPA. This unit will be located in the office of Shamila Batohi, the National Director of Public Prosecutions.

The establishment of the unit was announced in Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address in February. The Investigating Directorate is tasked with investigating common law offences including fraud, forgery, uttering, theft and any offence involving dishonesty. 

Cronje's appointment is for a term of five years.

She has been on retainer for the past two months, assisting Batohi to set up the structure of the new directorate and to panel-beat the legislation and terms of reference that will govern the scope of its work.

It is understood that Batohi personally requested Cronje come on secondment from the Bar to assist with this crime-fighting project. 

When contacted by News24 last month, Cronje would not reveal if she had been asked to be director, but confirmed she was involved with the set-up. 

Cronje does have the requisite experience for the job.

Prior to joining the Bar six years ago, she spent 12 years prosecuting cases as part of the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) under Willie Hofmeyr.

Hofmeyr has recently been re-appointed head of the AFU.

Cronje headed up the Cape division of the AFU and was one of the NPA's first members.

Currently acting as caretaker of all 'state capture' cases arising from the Zondo Commission and also co-ordinating all organised crime cases, is advocate Andrea Johnson.

Cronje has a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government and a BA and LLB from the University of Cape Town. She worked in the NPA until 2012 and went into private practice after that.

The NPA has since welcomed the appointment citing it as an important move towards achieving the NPA's firm commitment to "end impunity for serious crimes, including corruption". 

"Adv Cronje has the academic qualifications, wealth of knowledge and practical expertise required for this crucial position.

"She is highly regarded in the law enforcement community as a tenacious energetic and competent woman and is therefore well placed to co-ordinate with the Investigating Directorate's key partners notably the South African Police Service (SAPS) and in particular, the Directorate Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI)," spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke said in a statement on Friday.

Batohi is expected to introduce Cronje at a media briefing on May 24. Batohi will be joined by the national police commissioner Lieutenant General KJ Sithole.

"The NDPP will also provide details on the legal framework, powers, duties and functions of the ID and an overview of next steps and priorities. 

"She will also provide an update on other interventions and key developments at the NPA since she assumed office in February," Makeke concluded.

Read more on:    shamila batohi  |  hermione cronje  |  npa
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