The new head of the Investigating Directorate introduced

June 24th, 2019

The new National Prosecuting Authority, Investigating Director, advocate Hermione Cronje with the National Director of Public Prosecution, Shamila Batohi, at a media briefing in Pretoria on 24 May.

By Kgomotso Ramotsho

The National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), advocate Shamila Batohi, introduced the new head of the Investigating Directorate in the office of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), advocate Hermione Cronje at a media briefing in Pretoria on 24 May. Addressing the media, Ms Cronje said she was grateful to Ms Batohi for the confidence she expressed in her ability to do the job of the Investigating Director. She added that she was aware of the importance of holding accountable people responsible for state institutions, particularly institutions in the security sector, such as the NPA, the South African Police Service and the State Security Agency, which ought to have brought those responsible to book for the looting as heard about in the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector including Organs of State.

Ms Cronje added that she was aware of the problems in the state-owned enterprises (SOE’s), such as Eskom, Transnet, Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa and others. Ms Cronje said that she was aware of the need to send a strong message to those who pocket, for their own personal gain, funds earmarked for the development of our country and for meeting the needs of our people. She added that they will face the consequences of their actions. ‘I am aware of the constraints – our capacity to deal with these challenges has been severely compromised. We have been tested and found wanting, we will need to rebuild the skill, capacity and resilience of investigators and prosecutors to tackle these challenges head on,’ Ms Cronje said.

Ms Cronje outlined the scope of work of her office. She said the Investigating Directorate is required to focus on serious, complex and high-profile corruption cases, including allegations of corruption arising from the Zondo, Nugent and Mpati Commissions of Inquiry. She added that it was clear that the directorate will not be short of work. She pointed out that the office will focus on restoring the integrity of government and the credibility of the criminal justice system. She said the NPA envisages to focus its operations in the following three areas:

  • Corruption in the security sector (specifically in the criminal justice system). She noted that it is important that the NPA gets its house in order and builds confidence in the system.
  • Corruption in SOE’s.
  • Corruption in the public and private sector, including a focus on those who have systematically and actively sought to corrupt government procurement systems and processes for private gain, including private sector corruption that undermines the security of the country and impacts disproportionately on the lives of ordinary people.

The new National Prosecuting Authority, Investigating Director, advocate Hermione Cronje, speaking to media at the National Prosecuting Authority offices in Pretoria.

Ms Cronje pointed out that with regards to recruitment for the NPA, the NPA does not appoint staff on a permanent basis. The NPA envisages that staff are selected for investigating a matter, by identifying the skills and capacity that will be needed to address the matter. She added that those skills would be sourced from both the public and the private sectors for the time frame needed to do the work. Once brought into the directorate, personnel will dedicate themselves to the directorate for the duration of the assignment.

Ms Cronje said whoever is recruited or assigned to work in the directorate will be subjected to security vetting and to initial and ongoing enhanced integrity testing. She added that personnel will, therefore, need to agree to subject themselves to enhanced measures, such as random testing for the abuse of alcohol or drugs or use of the polygraph or similar instrument to ascertain, confirm or examine in a scientific manner the truthfulness of the statement made by the person.

Ms Batohi said that from working with Ms Cronje in the past, she has confidence that she has the temperament, resolve and commitment to make a success of this challenging assignment. Ms Batohi added that Ms Cronje is passionate, astute and fiercely defends the rule of law. Ms Batohi said the establishment of the directorate will immensely strengthen the capacity to address corruption.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.