Zondo Commission: criminal investigations will be carried out – NPA & DPCI – POLICY

This is a huge task and the NPA is vigorously exploring options to increase its capacity.

Joint NPA / DPCI statement on the publication of the Zondo Commission report

January 12, 2022

Earlier this month, the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector, Including State Organs, better known as the Zondo Commission or State Capture Commission, released the first of its three reports.

The Commission is to be commended for this important work which demonstrates that South Africa has the political maturity and the means to conduct an effective investigation into one of the darkest periods of the post-apartheid era. The Commission’s recommendations will help strengthen the rule of law in South Africa, ensuring that no one, regardless of power, position or wealth, is above the law. South Africans deserve nothing less.

The Commission’s work documents the extent of the state capture that fell on South Africa and how that capture occurred. This last point is crucial in understanding whether we as a government and as a country are serious about preventing a recurrence of state capture and the resulting devastation to the country and our people. In addition to its official reports, the Commission leaves behind a legacy of documents amounting to a petabyte of data, equivalent to around 500 billion pages of printed text on corruption, fraud and related offenses, including affidavits, investigation reports and other evidence.

The work of the Commission gives additional impetus to the process of rebuilding the rule of law after a very difficult period. The National Prosecution Authority (NPA) and the Priority Offenses Investigation Department (DPCI) systematically examine the findings and recommendations of the Commission, with a view to investigating and establishing criminal prosecution files against those who have violated the law, whether they belong to the public or private sector. sectors. This will include, where appropriate, the freezing and confiscation of the proceeds of crime. It is, however, important to note the differences between the evidence presented before a board of inquiry and the evidence required to meet the standard of proof for prosecution. In the case of the latter, criminal investigations will be carried out so that evidence can be presented in criminal proceedings, in accordance with South African evidentiary law.

This is a Herculean task given the volume of materiel and the limited human and financial resources available to our law enforcement and criminal justice agencies. The NPA is vigorously exploring options to strengthen its capacities, capacities and resources. It will continue to do so with the help of the relevant departments, including the National Treasury, the DPSA and the Office of the Solicitor General, and with the support of the Minister and the DG of Justice. The NPA will also continue its collaborative approach in accordance with its legal mandate, including with the private sector, where appropriate. The NPA welcomes expressions of support from the private sector and will continue to engage with these key partners, as appropriate, while isolating itself from any perception of external influence.

The NPA takes note of the Commission’s conclusion that it has not responded adequately to the state capture and that the institutional weaknesses of the NPA need to be addressed. In this regard, the NDPP has publicly acknowledged the challenges facing the NPA, especially in its efforts to prosecute high-level corruption cases. The NDPP also highlighted the associated challenges facing the NPA’s law enforcement counterparts, and the impact this has on the NPA’s ability to prosecute complex crimes. Rebuilding the NPA after years of undermining by state capture actors was never going to be quick or easy. Yet significant progress has been made and the NPA is slowly but surely being rebuilt to enable it to fulfill its vital mandate. The NPA will also continue to prioritize internal processes to ensure that any prosecutor involved in criminality or improper conduct, including in the context of state capture, is treated effectively and fairly.

Furthermore, given the importance of avoiding the future capture of the NPA, or any other state institution, which has brought South Africa to the brink of financial collapse, it is crucial that de jure independence and de facto NPA is ensured, including in terms of the relationship with the executive and how the senior leadership of the AFN is appointed.

As the NPA steps up the prosecution of those involved in the state capture, it is crucial that its actions are, and be seen to be, independent of any undue influence. Anything below this will undermine South Africa’s confidence in the rule of law and due process, which is, for various reasons, already at relatively low levels.

In response to the Commission’s first report, the NPA created a dedicated working group, coordinated at the highest levels within the NPA. An urgent review of all cases covered in the report, including those already proclaimed by the NPA’s Investigations Directorate (ID), will be carried out. The working group mainly focuses on progress and impact. It builds on the work already done within the NPA in recent years, in collaboration with the Zondo Commission and other law enforcement partners.

In the context of the Anti-Corruption Task Force (ACTT), a meeting of key law enforcement partners will be scheduled to ensure optimal coordination and collaboration for success, including in the area of ​​asset recovery . The NPA also welcomes the steps taken towards the establishment of a specialized court to deal with state capture cases. This will allow expeditious finalization of cases and asset recoveries based on conviction.

The ID is a central player in the NPA’s response to the Commission reports and is currently investigating several of the issues mentioned therein. The DI is well placed to respond to Commission reports and has initiated a process to proactively prepare to respond appropriately to recommendations that fall within its mandate. The ID is in the process of integrating the resources of the Zondo Commission, including the transfer of digital forensic capacity to the NPA, while taking the necessary steps, through the National Treasury, to increase its capacity. , in proportion to the requests emanating from the reports of the Commission. . Internal coordination within the NPA, as well as external coordination with stakeholders, is strengthened to ensure effective collaboration and coordination in the investigation and prosecution of complex corruption cases, as well as the recovery of assets.

The DPCI, mandated to deal with national priority offenses, which include serious corruption, serious commercial crime and serious organized crime, will take its place alongside its partners and respond accordingly to the recommendations of the Commission which fall within the mandate of the Commission. DPCI. A team made up of senior officers from the operational investigation components identifies cases that may have been reported and are currently under investigation by the respective components of the DPCI, before the publication of the Commission’s first report. This will allow the DPCI to take stock of what is already part of the findings and recommendations of the Commission that are part of its existing investigations, and also respond to other recommendations as these may fall within its mandate, but do not fall within its mandate. not part of existing surveys.

The NPA and DPCI are committed to ending impunity for high-level corruption and other crimes in South Africa. The Commission’s reports highlight the extent of the alleged crime stemming from the state capture, as well as the scale and nature of the task involved in holding those responsible to account. South Africans deserve justice for the heinous crimes which have undermined our country’s development prospects, which have disproportionately affected the poor and vulnerable, and have ruined the lives and dreams of many. We have no illusions about the enormity of the task at hand and the challenges we face; but we give to you, the people of South Africa, our pledge, that, guided by the evidence and values ​​enshrined in our Constitution, we will not rest until the rule of law once again lights our way. in South Africa.

Posted by NPA / DPCI, January 12, 2022

Mark M. Gagnon