ISS proposes oversight body for NPA

The ISS released a report calling for a new inspectorate to oversee the day-to-day operations at the NPA.

FILE: The ISS has released a report calling for a new inspectorate to oversee the day-to-day operations at the NPA. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A proposal by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) for a new oversight mechanism for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) could include playing a role in appointing new leaders for the organisation.

The ISS has released a report which calls for a new inspectorate to oversee the day-to-day operations at the prosecuting authority and even review decisions to drop cases.

The NPA has appointed a fact finding commission headed by retired Constitutional Court Judge Zak Yacoob to investigate political camps operating inside the organisation.

It's also been claimed National NPA head Mxolisi Nxasana didn't fully disclose his criminal record before he was appointed.

The presidency announced last Friday that President Jacob Zuma had written to Nxasana informing him of his intention to place the NPA head on paid suspension.

The NPA head is expected to give President Jacob Zuma a full response opposing his looming suspension by Friday.

Senior researcher Martin Schönteich says the mechanism could be based on models that exist in countries like Japan and England.

"Very often out of a crisis, we can also find opportunities for positive change."

He maintains that the NPA is still effective.

"The NPA is blessed with staff members that are genuinely hardworking, committed and very good at what they do. The question is, what does one do to try and not only address the present crisis, but also to bring about systemic change?"

The ISS suggests the proposed oversight body would not have the power to interfere directly but could help the NPA regain credibility.