The announcement by justice minister Ronald Lamola that the cabinet intends publishing draft legislation concerning its plan to upgrade the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) Investigating Directorate is unfortunate.
It will be unconstitutional in any new ordinary law the plan spawns, won’t even remotely implement the binding Glenister criteria set by the courts in the litigation fought in that name, and certainly won’t efficiently and effectively address the rife corruption still at large in SA.
The courts require anticorruption machinery of state that is independent and secure in tenure of office.
None of the leaders of the prosecution service has served a full term of office; it is under the “final responsibility” of the minister, and its purse strings are pulled by his director-general.
Continuing to locate the “new” Investigating Directorate within the NPA will not address its constitutional flaws.
The role of the Hawks, as legislated, will have to be revisited and vast resources will still be needed to address the backlog of corruption cases, more than a decade long and growing fast.
The Investigating Directorate has proved itself incapable of addressing as simple a case as Bheki Cele’s involvement in those two notorious 2010 World Cup police HQ leases. Yes, 2010 — involving only two transactions and one co-accused! What a shameful illustration of hegemonic ANC control in action.
Lamola has not even bothered to get National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council buy-in for his plan, nor has he waited for the very relevant report its chair has promised to publish before the next elections.
He intends taking the country down a cul de sac, assuming his plan is not just a pre-election ploy. He should be stopped by the justice portfolio committee, which supports the more radical and constitutionally compliant reform announced by the DA — a chapter nine anticorruption commission.
Parliamentary oversight in action — at long last — can and should kybosh Lamola’s plans. So could well-directed public interest litigation. Does Luthuli House know that the minister’s plan, whether real or tactical, sabotages its electoral hopes?
Paul Hoffman SC