The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI) – are both wading through the 874-page Zondo Commission report with a view of acting against wrongdoers.
Earlier this month the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector including Organs of State, better known as the Zondo Commission or State Capture Commission released its first of three reports.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, the law enforcement agencies said they were “systematically reviewing the Commission’s findings and recommendations”.
The NPA and DPCI said they were going through the report “with a view to investigating and building cases for criminal prosecution against those who broke the law, be they from the public or private sectors”.
Their joint statement added: “The Commission must be commended for this important work that demonstrates that South Africa has the political maturity and wherewithal to mount an effective inquiry into one of the darkest periods of the post-apartheid era.
“The Commission’s recommendations will allow for the strengthening of the rule of law in South Africa, ensuring that no one, irrespective of their power, position, or wealth, is above the law.”
In response to the Commission’s first report, the NPA said it has created a dedicated Task Force, “coordinated at the highest levels” within the agency.
An urgent review of all cases covered in the report, including those already proclaimed by the NPA’s Investigating Directorate (ID) will be conducted.
“The Task Force’s main focus is on progress and impact. It builds on the work already done within the NPA over the past few years, in collaboration with the Zondo Commission and other law enforcement partners,” explained the joint statement.
“In the context of the Anti-Corruption Task Team, 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.
“We are under no illusions about the enormity of the task at hand and the challenges that we face. But we give you, the people of South Africa, our commitment, that, guided by the evidence and the values enshrined in our Constitution.
“We will not rest until the rule of law once again lights our way in South Africa.”
Role of ID in the NPA response
The ID is a central actor in the NPA’s response to the Commission’s reports and it is currently investigating several matters mentioned therein.
The ID is well-placed to respond to the Commission’s reports and has commenced a process to proactively prepare to respond appropriately to the recommendations which fall within its mandate.
The ID is in the process of onboarding resources from the Zondo Commission, including the transfer of the digital forensic
capacity to the NPA, whilst also taking the necessary steps, through National Treasury to increase its capacity, proportionate to the demands emanating from the Commission’s reports.
Internal coordination within the NPA, as well as external coordination with stakeholders, is being strengthened in order to ensure effective collaboration and coordination in the investigation and prosecution of complex corruption matters, as well as asset recovery.
DPCI will, as mandated to deal with national priority offences, which include serious corruption, serious commercial crime and serious organised crime, take its place alongside its partners and respond accordingly to the Commission’s recommendations which fall within the DPCI’s mandate.
A team comprising of senior officers from the operational investigation components is identifying cases that may have been reported and are currently being investigated by the respective components of the DPCI, prior to the release of the Commission’s first report.
This will enable the DPCI to take stock of what is already part of the Commission’s findings and recommendations which form part of its existing investigations, and equally respond to other recommendations as they may fall within its mandate, but not part of the existing investigations.