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Batohi admits anti-corruption task team has failed South Africans

The task team brought together law enforcement agencies as well as Sars and the Auditor-General and was set up nearly a decade ago to deal more speedily with high-profile corruption cases.

FILE: NPA head Shamiela Batohi (centre) at the opening of Booysens Magistrates Court. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

CAPE TOWN - National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Advocate Shamila Batohi said on Wednesday the anti-corruption task team has failed the country in the battle against corruption and a new strategy was being considered to improve its efficiency.

The task team brought together law enforcement agencies as well as Sars and the Auditor-General and was set up nearly a decade ago to deal more speedily with high-profile corruption cases.

Batohi’s told Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) that the deliberate weakening of law enforcement agencies in recent years, combined with a lack of will, internal corruption and a lack of capacity were at the root of the task team’s dismal record.

She said that since 2013, the Special Investigating Unit referred 881 matters to the NPA, which translated into 293 cases. So far, only nine were finalised in court, while in 48 cases, investigations were yet to begin.

“It’s an abysmal record. Where is the logjam? We have to recognise that institutions have been weakened, that these cases, the key ones, were for various reasons deliberately not given attention beyond a couple of months back. So, there was no will to deal with them efficiently. And if you add to that, capacity issues,” Batohi said.

Budget cutbacks meant high vacancy rates but Batohi said another problem was corruption within the ranks of the very institutions tasked with rooting out the scourge.

Batohi said they were working on a new plan to boost the efficiency of the anti-corruption task team, key to driving the prosecution of corruption cases.

“It has, I think, failed the people of South Africa in terms of dealing with corruption properly,” she said.

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