NPA must be accountable - ISS

Johannesburg - South Africa needs a more accountable National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said on Wednesday.

"The NPA's ongoing credibility crisis raises the question whether it is timely to explore a dedicated prosecutorial oversight and accountability mechanism for South Africa," ISS governance, crime, and justice division head Gareth Newham said.

"Effective prosecutorial accountability empowers the public and makes prosecutors responsible to citizens for their actions," he said.

"This is particularly important in a country like South Africa where officials have considerable public authority to decide who to arrest, prosecute, convict or imprison, or to award contracts worth millions to some but not others."

He said some aspects of the NPA's activities were scrutinised by bodies including Parliament, the auditor general, and the National Treasury, but none focused exclusively on the NPA and their staff could lack a detailed understanding of how the NPA worked.

Other countries had mechanisms, such as prosecution service inspectorates, independent complaints offices, and prosecutorial review commissions.

Newham said the NPA's existing internal accountability mechanisms, such as the integrity management unit, did little to reassure public confidence in its institutional health and performance.

He said a debate was needed on the benefits of accountability and oversight mechanisms for the NPA, and policy-makers and criminal justice reformers should be able to draw from international good practice and experience.

President Jacob Zuma announced his decision to institute an inquiry into NPA boss Mxolisi Nxasana's fitness to hold office, last month, after reports emerged that Nxasana had apparently not been given a security clearance because of past brushes with the law.

This included being tried for murder about 30 years ago.

He was acquitted of the charge based on his version of self-defence.

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Lucas Mafenuka 2014/08/06 06:57:35 PM
This is the real evidence of why the scorpions were disbanded, control control control the unit to serve the few
Redphi 2014/08/06 07:18:31 PM
Blowing smoke rings up the public posteriors
Stephanes Heunis 2014/08/06 07:23:36 PM
Nhlanganiso 2014/08/06 07:33:09 PM
Inquiry waste of time NPA has been compromised,infiltrated.not now not in the near future that this useless unit is going to be independent,impartial.
Colbern Mashego 2014/08/06 07:37:15 PM
As long as Gerrie Nel is still in the NPA nothing will fine that chap doesn't believe in black man goverment that man is an silent destroyer he working for the opposition yes he is a loyal DA member he is fullfilling his party 's mission to distabilise the ruling goverment the ANC will keep on fighting and chasing comitted candidates for the NPA job because of this Nel but we have to blame ourselves for keeping this virus
Colbern Mashego 2014/08/06 09:57:28 PM
@ may itself what happened to the rhino horn that disappeared in Nel 's office?
Colbern Mashego 2014/08/06 09:59:33 PM
You are on wrong train Mr Mabitsela
Adri Kuhn 2014/08/06 10:44:58 PM
Zuma doesn't have any credibility so don't expect and of his tjommas to have either it's a lost case and we will just have to live with all this BS that will never end!!!