Zondo report: Criminal investigations will be conducted – NPA & DPCI – DOCUMENTS

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

NPA/DPCI joint statement on the release 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 its first of 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 carry out an effective investigation into one of the darkest periods of the post-apartheid era. The Commission’s recommendations will 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 work of the Commission documents the extent of state capture that has befallen South Africa and how that capture occurred. This last point is crucial to understanding whether, as a government and as a country, we 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 approximately 500 billion pages of printed text on corruption, fraud and related offenses, including affidavits, investigation reports and other evidence .

The work of the Commission is giving new impetus to the process of rebuilding the rule of law after a very difficult period. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Priority Crimes Investigation Directorate (DPCI) systematically review the findings and recommendations of the Commission, with a view to investigating and building criminal prosecution cases against those who have violated the law, whether in the public or private sector. sectors. This will include, where appropriate, the freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime. However, it is 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 matters, in accordance with South African law of evidence.

This is a Herculean task given the volume of documents 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 capacity, capabilities and resources. It will continue to do so with the help of relevant departments, including the National Treasury, 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 outside influence.

The NPA takes note of the Commission’s finding that it has not responded adequately to 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 faced by NPA 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 engaged in criminal acts or improper conduct, including in the context of state capture, is dealt with effectively and fairly.

Furthermore, given the importance of avoiding 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 the independence of de jure and de facto of the NPA is ensured, including with regard to its relations with the executive and in the manner in which senior NPA leaders are appointed.

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

In response to the Commission’s first report, the NPA set up a dedicated working group, coordinated at the highest level 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 focuses primarily on progress and impact. It builds on work already done within the NPA over the past few years, working with the Zondo Commission and other law enforcement partners.

As part 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 ​​recovery assets. The NPA also welcomes the steps taken towards the establishment of a dedicated court to deal with state capture cases. This will allow for speedy finalization of cases and asset recoveries on the basis of a conviction.

The ID is a central player in the NPA’s response to the Commission’s reports and is currently investigating several issues mentioned therein. The DI is well placed to respond to the Commission’s reports and has begun a process of proactive preparation 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 demands arising from the Commission’s reports. . 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 asset recovery .

The DPCI, as mandated to deal with national priority offences, which include serious corruption, serious commercial crime and serious organized crime, will stand alongside its partners and respond accordingly to the recommendations of the Commission which fall within the mandate. of the DPCI. A team comprised of senior officers from the Operational Investigation Components identifies cases that may have been reported and are currently under investigation by the respective DPCI components, prior to the release of the Commission’s first report. This will allow the DPCI to take stock of what is already part of the Commission’s findings and recommendations that are part of its existing investigations, and also to respond to other recommendations as they may fall within its mandate, but not be 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 alleged criminality stemming from state capture, as well as the scale and nature of the task to be done in holding those responsible to account. South Africans deserve justice for the heinous crimes that have undermined our country’s development prospects, which have disproportionately affected the poor and vulnerable, and ruined the lives and dreams of many. We have no illusions about the enormity of the task ahead 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 lights our way again in South Africa.

Published by NPA/DPCI, January 12, 2022

Mark M. Gagnon