South Africa
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NPA directorate failed to successfully prosecute a single case

Since its inception nearly three years ago, the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Investigating Directorate has failed to successfully prosecute a single case.

National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shamila Batohi blamed the accused  for using every trick in the book to delay court cases

“A successful prosecution is charging people and so there's no cases that's been concluded yet. These matters are really complicated and the sad reality is that in the current climate accused persons will do everything possible to ensure cases do not proceed to finality; that the state is not even able to start leading the evidence on merits of the case.

"We're acutely aware of strategy and we're in the NPA developing guidelines and empowering prosecutors to resist these attempts but at the end of the day there are decisions made by judges and magistrates and there's nothing we can do about it,” said Batohi in a virtual press briefing.

The briefing was initially scheduled for June, Batohi said, but was postponed to December and comes on the back of the resignation of NPA head of the Investigating Directorate Hermione Cronje.

President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Cronje in May 2019 to effectively expedite the investigation and prosecution of state capture cases.

Speaking on the resignation, Batohi announced that Cronje would be supported by NDPP deputy director Ouma Rabaji-Rasethaba during the transition period as they recruit a new head.

Cronje was noticeably absent from the briefing. 

Addressing media reports after the news of Cronje's resignation, Batohi said there was no crisis at the NPA.

“To be clear, the NPA is not in a crisis and [there is] no widespread sabotage of the ID or any part of the NPA that's taking place. We’ve come through a difficult period and there are various internal processes that are looking at various aspects.

“Advocate Cronje's resignation is a culmination of various factors. The incorrect narrative that it's because of interpersonal relations between her and I  really makes for dramatic reporting and that's where it ends.

“The interest of the country is important both for advocate Cronje and I. It's important to note in a high pressure and high stakes environment occasional tensions and disagreements are normal. The ID was and remains under considerable pressure to perform and it's my job to ensure it delivers and we'll show there's been significant progress in the ID.

"[The] investigations director and national director need to be fully aligned on the overall strategy of the directorate, the priorities and case-specific strategies and [these must be] executed with razor sharp focus. We'll never have all the resources we need but need to prioritise for sharp execution,” Batohi said.

Continuing, she said leadership transitions were healthy and normal.

“Advocate Cronje was appointed in May 2019 and it's a tough job in a tough environment. It should not be a surprise or a concern that after this period, she's decided to move on. The NPA and myself have supported this,” she said.

Emphasising the NPA's ability to deliver, Batohi said there was no leadership gap in the NPA, adding that a  transition plan would be detailed soon.