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Steps under way to establish NPA independence

Sapa

Amendments to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) legislation are being proposed so that it is 'independent', it has been reported.

Paul Hoffman, director of Institute for Accountability in SA. (Gallo)

Acting head Nomgcobo Jiba told the Saturday Star that steps were under way to establish the NPA as a stand-alone entity, possibly similar to Chapter 9 institutions such as the public protector and auditor-general.

The NPA was established in Chapter 8 of the Constitution and was regarded as a line function of the justice department, with the minister in charge.

It accountants to Parliament and is funded by the department of justice.

According to the newspaper this had consequences.

This included the fact that budgets were cut for non-governmental organisation-run diversion programmes aimed at keeping non-violent and youth offenders out of jail while imposing alternative, non-custodial sentences.

Politically influenced
Paul Hoffman, director of Institute for Accountability in SA, said he would welcome the change that would make the NPA independent as long as it was done properly.

Earlier this week, Jiba denied that the NPA was politically influenced.

"These are perceptions. We strive to ensure we prosecute without fear, favour or prejudice," Jiba said in Pretoria at an Institute for Security Studies seminar.

This was after a Sunday Times report regarding the dropping of corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma in 2009.

Jiba said the NPA did not withdraw charges against people without reason, there were policies in place which had to be followed. – Sapa

     

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