During a briefing yesterday in the Select Committee on Security and Justice, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) revealed that a lack of facilities and legal powers is hindering the ability of the Investigating Directorate (ID) to conduct complex investigations into financial crimes outlined with the Zondo Commission reports.
There is an urgent need for the ID to be made permanent in order to secure its future stability, and outstanding legislation which will give the ID greater powers remains outstanding. The failure of government to provide this assistance to the ID is now placing the ability of the NPA and the ID to successfully prosecute State Capture crimes at serious risk.
Amendments to legislation are urgently needed to allow for the ID to recruit criminal investigators, as the ID is currently reliant on limited numbers of seconded personnel. These amendments would also provide security of tenure for its officials, thereby assisting them to conduct long-term investigations and to make the ID more attractive in the recruitment of specialised skills. Some of these urgently required skills include forensic investigators, data analysts and cyber forensic experts.
President Ramaphosa announced in October last year that the ID would be made a permanent entity within the NPA. The current temporary status of the ID is now proving a significant weak point in the nation’s fight against high level corruption. This weakness in permanence and skills has been on full display in the failure to successfully extradite the Guptas and the spectacular collapse of the Nulane case.
The DA urges national government to fast track legislation which will provide the ID with independence and additional investigative powers. This will strengthen the ID and its capabilities to conduct complex corruption investigations. Without these actions, accountability will remain elusive. If this legislation is not dealt with urgently, the inequitable conclusion must be that Government lacks the political will to address corruption efficiently or at all, and is dragging its feet in order to protect its own.