Parliament has the opportunity to exercise its constitutional oversight powers
Hermione Cronje’s resignation as head of the investigating directorate of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) affords parliament the opportunity of exercising its constitutional oversight powers in a proactive manner (“Independent Directorate head Hermione Cronje resigns”, December 2).
It was parliament that was ordered by the Constitutional Court to pass remedial legislation that would establish adequately independent, effective and efficient anticorruption machinery of state in the second Glenister case a decade ago.
Clearly the ravages of state capture would not have been as severe as they have been had the order of the court been properly implemented. The fact that the anticorruption capacity of the state is now wanting in so many respects is indicative of a failure by parliament to diligently oversee the remedial legislation that followed. All the court required of parliament was that it makes the “reasonable decision of a reasonable decisionmaker in the circumstances” to put in place the criteria the court set.
The hollowing out of the NPA, and the dysfunction in the Hawks, illustrate that circumstances call for a fresh approach tailored to addressing the ongoing presence of Cronje’s “saboteurs” in the under-resourced NPA and the general inability of the state to counter serious corruption and rake back the loot.
It is accordingly good news that NPA head Shamila Batohi and justice minister Ronald Lamola will be on the carpet this week accounting to parliamentarians. They should be asked for their views on the remedial legislation suggested by Accountability Now in August, and about the national executive of the ANC’s urgent, but unimplemented, instruction to the cabinet essentially to the same end, a year earlier.
Paul Hoffman, SC
Director, Accountability Now