The National Prosecuting Authority is delivering a briefing on its progress under new head, Shamila Batohi.
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That’s it for today. Stay with News24 as we bring you more on Batohi, Cronje and the NPA.
Replying to a question about the Guptas and whether being out the country means they escape liability.
Cronje: I spent the last few years working in countries recovering proceeds of crime. Anyone who tries to escape justice by fleeing, there are steps to ensure accountability.
A journalist asks a question about potential conflict and how the NPA will deal with an IPID matter involving allegations against Gen. Sitole (who is sitting next to Batohi).
The NDPP replies: “From the president down, if there is evidence, you will be prosecuted.”
Back to Batohi.
The NDPP says she expects the NPA under her leadership will face similar attacks to those the Scorpions faced during their existence.
Cronje says they have already received offers of financial support and general assistance from private organisations who believe they have innovative ways of helping the directorate.
Batohi addresses the issue of the funding of the directorate.
National police commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, pledges the police’s support to the NPA.
Note: This is really important even if only for the optics, as the police and arms of the NPA have struggled to work together effectively in the past.
Cronje outlines – briefly – that they do not intend recruiting staff permanently.
“We are going to identify skill and capacity on a case basis.”
Cronje announces that the directorate has secured the services of the advocate Geoff Budlender from the Cape Bar. Budlender will give strategic advice.
Thanda Mngwengwe, who played a critical role at the now-defunct Scorpions, has also been brought into the directorate.
Cronje outlines the Investigating Directorate’s three priorities:
1) Corruption in the criminal justice system (to restore public confidence in the system)
2) Stated-owned enterprises
3) High level public-private corruption
This will be well received by the public, civil society and investors. Probably not so well by those who undermined the criminal justice system.
Cronje notes the efforts of the media, saying they’ve done the type of investigations that would have been expected from the people sitting on her side of the table – the police and prosecutors.
#NPA Cronje: I am aware of the enormity of the task. I didn’t take the decision to accept this position lightly. I am aware that our institutions are in a poor state, particularly the institutions represented at this table. I am aware of problems at SOEs. @TeamNews24
â Mandy Wiener (@MandyWiener) May 24, 2019
Cronje is now at the mic. She starts off her address with a joke about being told not to leave her glasses on her head – and what does she do … leave her glasses on her head.
NDPP Batohi, speaking about Cronje: “I want to assure you that working with her in the past, I have absolute confidence she has the temperament and resolve. She is passionate, fiercely resolute and if anyone can do the job she can.”
Batohi says her vision for the NPA is the vision of all prosecutors.
“The country is crying out for effective prosecutions.”
She says she wants the NPA to contribute to the country’s socio-economic development.
Batohi says she’s also been working with the South African Revenue Service.
The NDPP says she’s met with National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole and they’ve had a “constructive conversation”. The issues to be addressed – lack of skills, lack of discipline.
The briefing starts with National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi reading a brief statement before introducing Hermione Cronje to the media.
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