Speech on the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill [B29B-2023]
Speech by ACDP MP, Steve Swart

Issued by the ACDP Parliamentary Media Office

More should have been done to ensure independence of NPA and Investigating Directorate

Dec 5, 2023

House Chair,

It is undeniable that the Scorpions were a very effective crime fighting unit and had they not been disbanded, we would not have the levels of state capture and corruption that we have today, and the ACDP participated in the opposition to the disbanding of the Scorpions.

Today, we consider this bill and as we’ve indicated in the Committee, we believe it does not go far enough in setting out the NPA’s independence as well as that of the proposed Investigating Directorate Against Corruption.

It also fails to deal with the crucial aspects of security of tenure as set out in the Glennister judgements, when setting up such anti-corruption agencies.

The DA and ACDP submitted a joint submission in an attempt to improve the independence of the Investigating Directorate and to improve the bill. We suggested that clauses be inserted that improve the security of tenure as well as the appointment process.

The appointment process should be transparent and open, allow for nominations and applications, and include a public interview process. The term of office should be one term for the National Director, with an increased retirement age of 70,

These were eminently reasonable suggestions. Sadly, the committee did not accept the recommendations mainly due to what was considered ‘time constraints’. The committee considered the urgency of the proposed amendments which are very limited in scope and intended as an intermediate measure to improve the Investigating Directorate’s capacity. 

We appreciate that the Committee indicates it will include these issues in the outstanding Legacy Report. We also suggested from the ACDP’s side, that the aspects of this should be included in the Report of the Portfolio Committee that then becomes binding on the next Parliament.

However, we do believe, regrettably, that far more could have been done to ensure the independence of the NPA and, of course, to ensure the independence of the proposed Investigating Directorate Against Corruption. We believe that it is very necessary in view of the high levels of cases that it has to consider as well as the state capture that far more could have been done.

I thank you.

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