'No room for nepotism, racism,' says NPA following protest at head office

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NUPSAW members outside the NPA. (@NupsawHQ, Twitter)
NUPSAW members outside the NPA. (@NupsawHQ, Twitter)
  • Members of the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers demonstrated outside the NPA's head office on Friday, alleging racism and nepotism by management.
  • The NPA said it would investigate the allegations against management after the union members handed over a memorandum.
  • The NPA said an investigation into similar allegations in the Eastern Cape found no evidence of racism or nepotism.

The National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) says it will not tolerate any acts of racism or nepotism following a picket by disgruntled prosecutors at its headquarters in Pretoria. 

Members of public sector union National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw) on Friday accused the NPA of displaying favouritism, and racism against black prosecutors.

According to an IOL report, grievances contained in the memorandum included racism, failure to increase salaries, and nepotism.

The protesters outside the NPA offices held placards saying "Stop oppressing black prosecutors"  and "Victimisation and nepotism in the NPA must end".

Nupsaw, an affiliate of the South African Federation of Trade Union (Saftu), threatened to shut down the NPA should their grievances not be addressed. 

"Nupsaw have long registered grievances about the way the NPA is being run. We have found that many of our problems are worsening, especially because of the refusal to act against members of colour and or racism within the NPA." the union said in its memorandum.

"The Constitution of South Africa provides the NPA with the power to institute criminal proceedings on behalf of the state, to carry out any necessary functions incidental to institutional of criminal proceedings and to discontinue criminal proceedings. We are worried about the manner and or the direction in which NPA is taking by allowing racism, nepotism and favouritism to happen."

NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said they took such allegations seriously, and hoped the union would lay out specific incidents so that they could be thoroughly investigated.

Ngwema said: 

There's no room for racism, nepotism and favouritism in the NPA. When similar allegations arose in the Eastern Cape last year, the NDPP [National Director of Public Prosecutions] instituted an investigation led by highly regarded and prominent Eastern Cape lawyer, Advocate Luvuyo Bono.

"Bono tabled his report with findings and recommendations in a meeting with all concerned. His report found, among other things, that those allegations were unsubstantiated." 

He added that Bono's report did not find evidence of racism and nepotism, but found "gaps" in NPA policies and administrative matters.

"Those [gaps] were not confined to particular race or cultural groups. We are attending to the issues that we had to implement to close those gaps."

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