Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Ronald Lamola says the department will provide budgetary support towards the establishment of the NPA’s Investigative Directorate.
This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the establishment of the directorate in his State of the Nation Address in February in a push to tackle corruption head on at a time the country finds itself recovering from the effects of State capture.
Lamola said fighting fraud and corruption forms part of the department’s core mandate and that the levels of brazen corruption and avarice that are seen in society can and must be halted.
“The various commissions of inquiry currently underway are part of the process of addressing fraud and corruption. The department will continue to provide the necessary administrative support to enable these commissions of inquiry to do their work.
“In addition, the department will also provide budgetary support to the establishment of the Investigative Directorate, under the auspices of the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] to deal with all cases emanating from these commissions.”
Lamola said the Investigative Directorate will work collaboratively with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), the SIU Special Tribunal and the Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigations (DPCI) to ensure that perpetrators of acts of fraud and corruption are brought to book speedily.
“The regulations of the Tribunal will be finalised shortly to enable this important institution to commence with the task of recovering moneys stolen through corruption and maladministration,” he said.
Shamila Batohi, the National Director of Public Prosecutions, said R38 million would be allocated to the new Directorate for start-up purposes, and that over a three-year period, she expects over R200 million to be allocated towards the running of the new unit.
“But this is for start-up costs at this stage. We have also made a bid to the CARA [Criminal Asset Recovery Account] fund for funds that we will require for the first year. The total amount is about R200 million over three years. We have made a bid to the CARA fund and we are quite confident that we will be successful in that bid,” she said.
Modernising the courts system
Lamola said, meanwhile, that the modernisation of the justice system lies at the heart of the transformation trajectory of the department.
A total of R1.3 billion has been allocated for the department’s modernisation programme.
“As such, through the Integrated Justice System (IJS), the department is driving a multi-department effort to increase the probability of successful investigation, prosecution, punishment and rehabilitation of offenders.
“The Court Recording Technology (CRT) system has been rolled out to over 2 000 courts.
“A further 146 mobile recorders are used in periodical courts. The CRT enables efficient recording and storage of court proceedings. This system will also improve operational efficiencies in courts.”
Lamola said the modernisation efforts will also extend to the Master’s offices where work is underway on the Master’s Online project, which is scheduled to be implemented by 2020.
The project aims to streamline the Trust registration process and will assist in curbing fraud.
“The condition of our courts as service points to the public, are a top priority. A total of 25 courts will be part of the total facilities management solution implemented by the Department of Public Works.
“This will bring relief to users of our facilities as breakdowns in equipment often disrupt court sittings and contribute to delays in the finalisation of cases. The department is also implementing an in-source model, which allows sentenced inmates and participants in the Extended Public Works Programme to be utilised for minor maintenance work,” said the Minister.