DA to introduce legislation for new Chapter 9, Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate high-level graft cases

Please find attached a soundbite by Glynnis Breytenbach MP

Today, the DA together with Accountability Now hosted a joint media briefing to announce the introduction of new legislation which will create a new, independent Chapter 9 Institution, called the Anti-Corruption Commission.

The DA will be introducing two Private Member’s Bills (PMB) – one proposing amendments to Sections 181, 193 and 194 of the Constitution to establish the new Chapter 9 Institution and the other, legislation which will govern the functions, powers and composition of the Commission.

The main objective of the proposed Anti-Corruption Commission will be to investigate, amongst other functions, high-level corruption cases. This independent institution is long overdue, as the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (HAWKS) is not sufficiently independent and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is currently besieged by systemic challenges.

The establishment of an Anti-Corruption Commission will particularly remove a large burden on the NPA, allowing them to concentrate on their core function of prosecuting crime, as the Commission will concentrate on a strictly defined and legislated space, dealing only with large scale grand corruption. This will provide a quicker, more efficient and effective method of dealing with the type of grand scale corruption we see daily, but which cannot be dealt with effectively within current existing and overburdened structures.

What the Commission will look like:

  • The Commission as we currently envision it will consist of a variety of Commissioners, with the Head National Commissioner being envisioned to be a retired Constitutional Court, Supreme Court of Appeals or High Court judge.
  • The appointment of Commissioners will be independent and follow the existing procedure outline in Section 193 of the Constitution.
  • There will also be a Secretariat of the Commission and a full complement of staff operating in support of the Section 193 appointed Commissioners.

What Commission will do:

  • Investigate allegations of high-level corruption.
  • Examine the practices and procedures of Public and Private bodies to facilitate the discovery of corrupt practices.
  • Receive complaints on the breach of the relevant codes of ethics by Prescribed Officers, and shall oversee the enforcement thereof.
  • Investigate and recommend to the National Director of Public Prosecutions the prosecution of any acts of corruption or violation of codes of ethics.
  • In the event of the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) declining to prosecute any investigation referred to the NPA by the Commission, the Commission shall be entitled to second its duly qualified staff to the NPA to prosecute charges to their final determination by the appropriate Court, within strictly defined and agreed to parameters, to be contained in legislation to be drafted, and in cooperation with the NPA.
  • The Commission may refer any suspected offence that comes to its notice in the course of its investigations to any appropriate person or body for further investigation, forfeiture of assets, proceedings or prosecution.

The Anti-Corruption Commission will also be mandated to advise Public and Private bodies on effective measures to prevent corruption; educate the public and raise awareness on the dangers of corruption; and depending on its findings made, make the necessary recommendations to the appropriate authority.

The establishment of a new, independent Chapter 9 Institution is an unprecedented proposal by the DA. But it is necessary due to the ANC-led government failing to establish a truly independent high-level corruption-fighting organisation.

We call on civil society and parties across the political spectrum to support us in this important endeavour.

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