The public litigation institute Accountability Now has warned that the government’s failure to fund the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will seriously hamper its ability to fight corruption.
NPA head Shamila Batohi appeared before Parliament on Wednesday and told it that if the crime-fighting institution lost any of its budgets, its work would be negatively affected. Her statement comes after a series of arrests following the evidence of witnesses at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in Johannesburg.
Assets have also been seized in corruption cases related to BOSASA and the Free State asbestos project.
Accountability Now’s director Advocate Paul Hoffman says the current situation is deeply worrying.
“I think we have to concede that the pandemic has upset the progress, but what concerns me and everybody is that the budget cuts are going to have a severe negative impact on the ability of the NPA to do its work.”
Batohi had previously cited several challenges faced by the NPA, including severe budgetary limitations, which had led to high vacancy rates and low staff morale.
In September, she said any private funding to the NPA would be handled with transparency and accountability. This after the NPA had suggested the idea of using funds from private donors for the cash-strapped institution.
She said the NPA needed to ensure that their receiving of private funding is not perceived as a form of state capture.
“It’s not like I am pursuing it. This has been something that government has; various projects which have been funded through donors and other types of other funding. But of course, we have to make sure that the perception that the NPA is not being captured. So, we are aware of that. There are provisions within the government framework and Treasury regulations to ensure that this type of funding is managed transparently. There is accountability as far as that is concerned, which we take very seriously.”