Don't hold back on state capture prosecutions
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) believes that the ongoing work of the State Capture Commission should not be used as an excuse to delay criminal prosecutions where sufficient evidence already exists.
Today the National Prosecuting Authority withdrew corruption charges against Duduzane Zuma. The NPA said that prosecutors wanted to wait until Mcebisi Jonas, whom Zuma is accused of trying to bribe, has finished giving evidence at the State Capture Commission which may include being cross-examined by Zuma’s father, Jacob Zuma.
“The State Capture Commission may take years to finalise,” says Advocate Stefanie Fick, OUTA’s Chief Legal Officer. “Historically, commissions can take years to reach finality. The public and those who suffer the negative effect of corruption should not have to wait.”
Fick, a former prosecutor, says that the Commission’s work and prosecutions should be parallel processes. “The State Capture Commission was never intended to deal with punishment. If the NPA now refuses to prosecute, does this mean nothing is going to happen to the perpetrators? Where is the justice in that?” asks Fick.
This approach could result in prosecutions over state capture crimes being put on hold indefinitely, which is not in the interests of justice.
“South Africa needs answers. The NPA should provide proper reasons for not tackling these corrupt activities. This is not the time to be sitting back,” says Fick.
OUTA finds it ironic that the ANC is refusing to act against prominent members who have been implicated in evidence before the State Capture Commission – such as Minister Nomvula Mokonyane and MP Vincent Smith – just because the Commission hasn’t finished its work, while at the same time, the NPA is failing to prosecute.
“The NPA’s decision to place prosecutions on hold has the effect of perpetrating a culture of impunity,” says Fick.
In August 2017, OUTA laid treason and racketeering charges against Duduzane Zuma, the Gupta brothers and others in connection with allegations of state capture.