NPA’s ID goes after ‘winnable business’ amid pressure over state capture

The new head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Investigative Directorate (ID) Andrea Johnson says corruption cases are taking “slightly” longer than expected under pressure to prosecute those involved in the coup.

On Friday, Johnson gave an interview about 702 after she replaced advocate Hermione Cronje, who last year asked to leave her office before her term expired.

The new ID boss was appointed this week by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

During the interview, Johnson acknowledged the pressures and challenges she will face in her new job, adding that her prosecution team will go for winnable cases.

“Of course we have to tackle the recoverable things, but we also have to tackle the difficult things that may seem unwinnable at the beginning because the nature of corruption matters, right off the bat. We don’t always have the kind of evidence prosecutors would want in a slam dunk case.

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“So it won’t always be looking at the cases that can be won, but we will be looking at the cases and all the points you’ve brought up are absolutely crucial to make sure we then have cases that can be won,” she said.

Johnson said coordination and cooperation with the private sector would be needed to pursue cases in the future.

“If we have a good partnership within the public and private sectors, I’m sure those shortcomings that can’t be remedied by the lack of budget need to be addressed,” she said.

She also indicated that the NPA would handle the cases that the ID can’t handle.

“At the very least, even if the ID doesn’t handle all the cases, because it’s clear it can’t… those cases will be handled somewhere within the NPA framework,” she added.

Zondo criticizes NPA

To date, the Commission of Inquiry into coup allegations has issued three reports recommending that a number of former officials involved be prosecuted.

These individuals include former South African Airways (SAA) Chairman Dudu Myeni, former Transnet CEO Brian Molefe and former South African Revenue Service (Sars) Commissioner Tom Moyane.

The committee’s chairman, acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, criticized the NPA’s failure to prosecute corruption cases in the first report.

READ MORE: NPA May Prosecute Immediately, But Will It Happen?

Zondo said the NPA’s failure to respond “adequately or not at all” to the challenges of state corruption “indicates a fundamental failure of a sovereign state function”.

In the report’s recommendations, Zondo suggested the creation of a new independent anti-corruption agency in procurement.

Although the NPA has since established a task force team to handle cases related to the state’s detention, questions are still being raised about whether the prosecuting authority has sufficient capacity to prosecute those involved.

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