Private donor funding for NPA not set in stone - Lamola

2019-07-18 20:00
Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola. (Jan Gerber/News24)

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola. (Jan Gerber/News24)

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The idea that the financially constrained National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) may seek private funding to continue with its work is not set in stone, says Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola.

"The matter should be explored with the involvement of the National Treasury [as] donor funding is ordinarily channelled through it," Lamola said in a statement.

During his budget policy statement, Lamola remarked the NPA was "really financially constrained".

"For it [the NPA] to be able to function, it needs funding. If the fiscus does not have it, then private donor funding must be able to help us. But how do we ensure that the NPA is insulated from any conflict of interest?

"Any kind of funding that comes to the NPA should be insulated from the perception of any kind of capture of the NPA."

Lamola said it had projected a shortfall of R121.5m for the 2019/20 financial year.

Out of the Department of Justice's budget of R15.6bn, R3.9bn goes to the NPA. 

"If this funding option is to be pursued, it would have to be consistent with the current practice wherein donor funding supports various programmes in the government, including the NPA."

EFF leader Julius Malema raised the matter of the independence of the NPA if this was pursued, saying: "What is South Africa going to be if the prosecuting authorities is funded by private capitalists who in South Africa are exclusively white and often engaged in many crimes and tax avoidance, massive fraud and illicit financial flows?" 

Lamola, however, said this was something that would be closely watched: "It would be imperative to ensure that the acceptance of private donor funding does not impinge on the independence of the NPA especially with regards to its decisions on who it investigates and prosecutes."

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