It fails to create a ‘permanent’ successor to the four-year-old Investigating Directorate
All lawyers, be they judicial officers, public servants, private practitioners, academics, in business, politics or elsewhere, should cherish the rule of law and strive to uphold it in the interests of advancing civilised standards of justice.
Everyone is therefore encouraged to take an interest in, and a stand on, a recently published execrable bill aimed at creating a “permanent” Investigating Directorate Against Corruption as a successor to the four-year-old Investigating Directorate, which takes up resources within our prosecution service. The latter has been called “useless” by the shadow minister of justice.
The bill is an insult to the rule of law, a slap in the face of the Constitutional Court and, if passed, threatens the survival of constitutional democracy in SA. It ignores binding precedent laid down in the Glenister litigation and the state’s constitutional obligation to have effective and efficient anticorruption machinery. The “permanence” of the new investigating directorate would be entirely illusory; it could be closed as easily as the Scorpions were in 2009.
The bill in no way, shape or form lives up to the vital independence and security of tenure criteria that bind the government in refashioning the necessary anticorruption machinery of the state. The duty to honour SA’s international anticorruption treaty obligations, and the constitutional duties of the state to respect and protect human rights, are not advanced by this ill-conceived bill. It should be immediately withdrawn or scrapped as the product of rogue thinking.
The Chapter Nine Anti-Corruption Commission proposed by the DA, supported by the IFP and, in due course, all right-thinking voters, is constitutionally compliant and far preferable to the proposed new investigating directorate. Establishing the commission should be supported by all lawyers, including those in the prosecution service.
Paul Hoffman, SC
Director, Accountability Now