NPA says Ramaphosa's response to state capture recommendations shows seriousness in tackling crime

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  • The NPA says the announcements by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the state capture report demonstrate seriousness in empowering it to tackle complex crimes.
  • Spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga also welcomed the inclusion of the Investigating Directorate within the NPA, saying this would enable it to recruit permanent experts in several fields, including cyber experts.
  • The NPA would work with several sectors to tackle corruption, but maintained that its independence would not be compromised.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcements on tackling state capture and corruption, saying it demonstrates the seriousness of empowering it to tackle South Africa's complex crimes. 

Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday night after submitting to Parliament the government's responses to the Zondo commission's recommendations.

Among these is the inclusion of the Investigating Directorate (ID), which would be a permanent arm of the NPA. The president also said there would be strengthened processes for appointing heads of state-owned companies and reviewing the Protected Disclosures Act and Witness Protection Act to improve the safeguarding of whistleblowers. 

On Monday, NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the permanent inclusion of the ID within the NPA would strengthen its investigations and enable it to recruit experts across different fields. 

"A permanent and empowered ID, with full investigative powers and the appropriate budget, will also allow the ID to recruit and retain the quality and breadth of the required specialised expertise, and to build this expertise given the long-term nature of some of the cases. This additional expertise includes forensic investigators, data analysts, and cyber experts," Mhaga said. 

READ | NPA's Investigating Directorate to become permanent as Ramaphosa announces raft of graft-busting measures

He said the NPA was working hard to "future-proof" itself and regain public trust after scathing revelations were made against it in the state capture commission.

He said among these measures would be public consultations in selecting and appointing the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP). 

He added that the NPA would work closely with businesses among other sectors to strengthen its crime-fighting efforts while ensuring the protection of its independence. 

Mhaga said these measures would help prevent the continuation of corruption and state capture. 

The Whistleblower House, an organisation launched to protect those who spill the beans on corruption, commended the announcement around the Protected Disclosures Act and Witness Protection Act.

"We are especially heartened by the firm deadline of April 2023 given to the Anti-Corruption Advisory Council for these actions as it demonstrates the urgency and importance of, inter alia, protecting whistleblowers."

READ | 1 000 entities, 26 cases, and 165 accused: Ramaphosa adamant SA turning 'new leaf' in corruption fight

However, it said the president's implementation plans fell short of the actual needs faced by whistleblowers.

The organisation said it had assisted 91 whistleblowers and their families who required legal and health services.

"The Whistleblower House was established to assist the whistleblower holistically. We have consulted and researched whistleblowers' challenges and developed a holistic range of services that the government could and should offer. These include facilitating access for whistleblowers to legal advice, health services (including psychological), financial assistance and safe accommodation," it said. 

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