Independent Investigating Directorate Is Key to Tackling South African Corruption Challenges says South African Think Tank

Experts at the South Africa Regional Centre of Excellence in Integrity (SARCOE), the think tank based at Stellenbosch University, have praised comments by President Ramaphosa in his recent State of the Nation Address that the Investigating Directorate within the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will be strengthened in order to increase the fight against corruption  and will become a permanent feature of the NPA.

SARCOE believes that a critical part in the battle to turn the tide on corruption in South Africa is the safeguarding of the independence of the National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigating Directorate alongside other law enforcement agencies.

SARCOE Co-Founder and Director Professor Geo Quinot said, “SARCOE wholeheartedly agrees with and applauds the announcement by President Ramaphosa in his recent State of the Nation Address where he outlined the steps that are to be taken to make the NPA’s Investigating Directorate a permanent feature within the South African Justice System.”

Professor Quinot continued, “Just as importantly, this consultation addresses the need to safeguard the independence of the Investigating Directorate, prescribe its powers and address funding and operational requirements.”

Individuals involved in state capture, and those with political influence, seek to influence and manipulate agencies and organisations which could discover and prosecute them for their corrupt activities. Robust processes and structures aligned with a counter-corruption culture must be put in place to defend vital organisations against such people and their criminal activities.

The NPA’s Investigating Directorate has been central to complex criminal investigations including the ESKOM scandal and other incidents of state capture under former President Jacob Zuma and has achieved considerable success.

Not only does SARCOE believe that an independent Investigating Directorate is key to tackling corruption effectively, but that counter-corruption training and education are vital too. 

Relevant practical counter-corruption training and education for professionals embeds key skills and a counter-corruption culture that is vital for prosecutors and investigators at all levels of the Investigating Directorate. Not only will this provide the organisation itself with security from corrupt actors, but it will also arm staff with the training that they need to carry out their crucial work, improve staff retention, and make the Investigating Directorate a more attractive employer for skilled, talented individuals.

Professor Geo Quinot said, “The need for counter-corruption training and education to continually improve key skills and embed a counter-corruption culture is vital to the success of an independent Investigating Directorate and its law enforcement partners if it is to tackle the challenge of corruption and the legacy of state capture in South Africa.”