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WRAP | Batohi admits that 'many' TRC cases will probably not be prosecuted

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08 Dec 2021

The portfolio committee meeting ends.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Portfolio chairperson Gratitude Magwanishe gives an emotional address on the need for the TRC cases to be resolved and points out that, the longer these matters drag on, the less likely it is that anyone will be prosecuted. The victims of apartheid persecution fought for the democratic society we have now, he says, adding that they were owed answers and justice. He says the committee should meet quarterly to monitor progress in these cases.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Batohi says the NPA is trying to ensure that it is "not only families with means" that are able to pressurise the state into pursuing TRC cases.

She says the state will file an answer to the litigation launched by the Cradock 4 families on 13 December.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffrey confirms that he was not aware of a "deal" between the ANC and the National Party over apartheid-era prosecutions.

If there had been a secret deal, he says, it was strange that the NPA chose to prosecute apartheid Minister Adriaan Vlok for the poisoning of Reverend Frank Chikane.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Batohi says NPA will ensure that whomever replaces Cronje "will be the best person for the job...and in all probability it will be a woman".

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Batohi says a task team has been set up to address tensions between black prosecutors and their managers in the Eastern Cape.

She agrees "that it is untenable that you have prosecutors and managers litigating in court".

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Batohi says the NPA has been calling for legislative changes to the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Du Plessis says the NPA needs help in accessing the budgets it needs to pursue State Capture cases.

He adds that the criminal justice "as a whole" needs to be fixed.

Du Plessis admits that salary discrepancies between prosecutors has had a very negative impact on staff morale and needs to be resolved.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

The NPA's Anton du Plessis admits that it does need innovation in relation to the investigation and prosecution of State Capture corruption, which he says requires specialised skills because it is on scale that the NPA has not seen before.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Rabaji-Rasethaba says the ID team is "committed" to continuing its work after Cronje's resignation.

She says the NPA is looking at the possibility of concluding settlements with implicated corporates as a "non-trial resolution" to certain cases.

She says she is confident that the ID will launch some "high impact" cases in the coming months.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Rabaji-Rasethaba has been working at the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

She says she believes that she will be able to act at the ID without damaging this work.

She says she has been working with Cronje for some time and would work with her again - if she returned to the Bar as a private counsel.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Rabaji-Rasethaba says the ID has multiple legs to its investigations into Eskom and Transnet - which were both allegedly looted under the watch of Brian Molefe and Anoj Singh.

The vast bulk of State Capture contracts were awarded from these parastatals.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Advocate Ouma Rabaji-Rasethaba, who will act as ID head after Cronje leaves the NPA in March, is answering the questions that MPs wanted to ask Cronje.

Cronje has been markedly absent from NPA engagements since news of her resignation broke.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

De Kock says the family members of the Cradock 4 identified 23 witnesses who the state should interview.

This was part of the reason why the NPA did not meet its 2 December deadline to make a decision, he says.

He says the national office will issue a directive about how the NPA should deal with the families of murdered anti-apartheid activists.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

De Kock says he recognises that the NPA's handling of its failure to meet the Cradock 4 deadline was not proper.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

De Kock says prosecutors have met with the family of Chief Albert Luthuli over a potential prosecution.

He says the state "wants to work with everyone" over its potential cases but stresses that "we cannot be told what to do and how to do our work". The NPA always collaborates with the victims' families, he says.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

De Kock says that, should the state decide not to prosecute TRC cases, it will refer the matter to an inquest - in the hope that doing so will enable families to find closure.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

NPA senior Prosecutor Rodney de Kock says the state recognises that the TRC cases need to be dealt with. There is a "recognition that was there before was not good enough", he says.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Batohi says there were professional conflicts between herself and Cronje but denies that this was the reason that Cronje resigned.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Batohi stresses that the media plays an important part in South Africa's democracy, but appeals for "responsible reporting".

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Batohi now responds. She starts by agreeing that it is "unacceptable where we are with the TRC matters".

She again refers to the history of the TRC prosecutions, which were allegedly interfered with by the Mbeki administration.

This was unacceptable, she says but adds that it is not fair to lay total blame for this on the current NPA.

"We are determined to work with the families to deal with these cases," she says.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Al-Jamah-ah MP Daniel Hendricks accuses the NPA of embarking on Stalingrad tactics in its handling of the TRC cases.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Nqola asks Batohi if any progress has been made in addressing the grievances raised by black prosecutors against their managers.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Nqola says it is "not acceptable" that TRC cases have not been prosecuted, decades after the TRC referred these cases to the NPA.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

ANC MP Xola Nqola agrees with Breytenbach and says he does not accept the NPA's explanation for why it failed to inform the families of the murdered Cradock 4 victims that it would not make a decision on the case on 2 December. He does not accept that the NPA had sent a letter that did not reach the families.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Breytenbach on TRC cases: many, many people have been affected by these cases.

The only thing they have left is some sort of justice for their family members who have been killed. She says her understanding is that the Cradock 4 matter has "dragged on and on and on" despite the NPA's assurances to the widows of Matthew Goniwe and Fort Calata.

The families launched legal action out of sheer desperation, she says. And yet the NPA failed to honour its promise to make a decision on the case on 2 December.

"Can you imagine the crushing disappointment?" she asks.

- Karyn Maughan


08 Dec 2021

DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach says she is not convinced by Batohi's assurances that there is nothing untoward about Cronje's resignation - and stresses that she is "not a faint-hearted woman".

She questions why Cronje would abandon the ID - which she had spent years building - halfway through. This is very unlike Cronje, she says.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Maseko-Jele says it is crucial for the families of murdered anti-apartheid activists to be given closure.

People say we need to see politicians in orange overalls, she says, but we need to see apartheid perpetrators in orange overalls, old as they are.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Maseko-Jele says resolving the TRC prosecutions is crucial to bringing cohesion to South Africa.

She says it appears only 57 families have been engaged over these possible prosecutions.

"Is this all we can do for this country?" she asks.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

ANC MP Nomathemba Maseko-Jele says Cronje's resignation is a set back - particularly because she's a woman. Will her replacement be a woman, she says, "and if not, why not?"

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach says it takes time and expertise to prosecute complex corruption and commercial crime matters.

But it has been three years, she says, and "our patience has run out". South Africa needs to see prosecutions, it needs to see people in court.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Swart asks whether it would be possible for Eskom to finance the prosecution of crimes committed at the parastatal.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

ACDP MP Steve Swart says "we are deeply saddened by the resignation of Advocate Cronje" but points out that no details about what led her to leave have been confirmed.

He then refers to the frustrations articulated by Cronje during her last appearance at Parliament: lack of security of tenure for ID staff, lack of critical skills and capacity to investigate and prosecute corruption and serious commercial crime, difficulties in transferring skills from Zondo commission to ID, slow procurement processes within the state and lack of digital forensic capability.

This could have been a reason for Cronje's frustration and subsequent resignation, he says, asking how these issues are being addressed.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Horn asks Batohi to clarify whether media reports that the ID had spent R400 million on senior advocates to prepare its cases, without taking cases to court. (The ID's total budget is only R100 million).

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

If there are not inter-personal issues at play in Cronje's resignation, Horn asks, were "structural issues" a contributing factor in her decision to leave office.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

On Cronje resignation, Horn asks Batohi what she would have done differently.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

The DA's Werner Horn says Cronje's resignation ahead of the end of her term is something to which South Africans are entitled answers.

One has to ask the question about how much "inter-personal issues" between Batohi and Cronje played in the ID head's exit, he says.

If the NPA is not in a crisis, "then this is a serious bump in the road", he adds.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Dyantyi is not impressed by Batohi's comments that the NPA didn't meet its Cradock 4 deadline because the families of victims raised questions about the evidence in the police docket.

He says it is embarrassing that the families "poked holes" in the case and says Batohi's explanation is "not persuasive".

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Dyantyi raises the NPA's long-running legal dispute with senior prosecutors who are being paid less than their junior counterparts.

He says morale in the NPA is "low". He also says he wishes to ask questions of Cronje directly.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Dyantyi says the NPA has been found wanting in regards to leadership stability and argues that many leadership positions in NPA offices around the country are being filled by acting officials.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

ANC  MP Richard Dyantyi: we are going to need to go beyond personalities... we are interested in the core business of the NPA.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Batohi says the NPA has made progress.

She argues that two years ago, the Guptas were "flashing their ill-gotten gains".

Now they are "hiding somewhere", she says, adding that they and others implicated in corruption cannot "sleep easy" because they are "waiting for a knock on the door".

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Batohi points out that the NPA has taken the Cosas 4 case to court.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Batohi on the NPA's failure to meet its 2 December deadline to make a decision on whether it would prosecute anyone for the 1985 murders of the Cradock Four.

She says the family members of the murdered men identified issues in the docket that required further investigation - a factor that led to the NPA being unable to make a decision on the case.

Batohi says the NPA tried to communicate about this to the family members, but admits that they failed to reach them.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Batohi admits there aren't many TRC cases in court.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Batohi says South Africa has failed the victims of apartheid violence - by failing to hold those responsible accountable.

Former NPA head Vusi Pikoli has stated under oath that he was actively blocked from pursuing those cases by Mbeki administration Justice Minister Bridget Mabandla.

The Appeal Court has confirmed that there was clear evidence of political interference in these cases and ordered it to conduct an inquiry into why this happened. Batohi has said she would support that inquiry being public.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Batohi again stresses that "there will be no leadership gap" at the ID after Cronje's resignation.

She says there will be a "smooth hand over process".

She reiterates: "The NPA is not in a crisis". Batohi says there were a "number of factors" that led to Cronje's resignation.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Batohi reveals that ID's annual budget is just over R100 million. This is expected to grow to R180 million, she says.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Batohi: We need to look forward... I am confident that the groundwork that has been done... we certainly are poised to make some impact.

- Karyn Maughan

08 Dec 2021

Batohi says she hopes questions on ID head Hermione Cronje's resignation will be dealt with on a legal-technical level and not a political one. She again stresses that "this is not a crisis".

- Karyn Maughan

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