/ 18 April 2019

NPA’s new directorate consolidating state capture cases

NDPP Shamila Batohi.
NDPP Shamila Batohi.

“Alot of work” was happening “in the background” to get the newly formed investigative directorate into state capture off the ground, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) communications head Bulelwa Makeke said this week.

The NPA, whose head office hasitself been riddledwith factional infighting and allegations of capture, has been severely criticised for its paralysis in dealing with allegations of state capture. The new directorate,established by presidential proclamation this year,is to be one of the steps to remedy this. It is to investigateserious crimes related to state capture, which include contraventions of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, that are the subject of numerous commissions of inquiry.

This month, the NPA confirmed the appointment of Matric Luphondo and Andrea Johnson to the directorate, but who will head it is yet to be announced.

The NPA is pressing ahead to “consolidate all the matters that can be deemed to fall within the terms of reference and mandate of the investigating directorate”, said Makeke.

“The NDPP [national director of public prosecutions] will outline in reasonable detail the way forward for the ID [investigating directorate] in the media, as soon as the appointment of the investigating director is confirmed,” she said.

Luphondo has been delegated to the state capture commission chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, while Johnson, who was part of the team that prosecuted former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi, will lead the process to identify cases for consolidation under the directorate.

Shamila Batohi, who officially took over the reins at the NPA in February, is seen as aleader who canpull the NPAout of itscredibility quagmire.Critical misses by the NPA in the Gupta family Estina dairy farm case and the recent arrest and subsequent dropping of charges against those accused of murdering ANC Youth League leader Sindiso Magaqa in 2017 have not sat well with her.

The recent move to consolidate andfast-trackcases related to state capture has led to jitters in the NPA becausesome saw this as an attempt to take over the work ofteams investigating state capture.

One source with knowledge of theinvestigations alleged thatBatohi seemeddissatisfied with the slow pace of arrests in high-profile cases related to Eskom and other public entities.

Complicating matters in the NPA is one of the law enforcement institutionsalleged to have been captured by elements close to Jacob Zuma in a bid to kill off sensitive cases involving high-profile people, including those close to the former presidentand his allies. Other institutions includethe South African Revenue Service and the Hawks.

Consolidatingmatters tobe dealt with by the directorate willbe tedious becausecases are at differentpoints in theinvestigations, and new matters are emerging daily at various commissions of inquiry into the capture of state institutions.

“Everything that has emerged from the commissions so far, and which will continue to come out,will have to fall under the directorate’s mandate,” Makeke said.