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Public Interest SA calls for robust and efficient criminal justice system

todayNovember 27, 2023 42

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Civil society organisation, Public Interest SA, says South Africa needs a robust and efficient criminal justice system to address corruption and improprieties that have eroded the public trust in law enforcement institutions.

The organisation was commenting on the recent case of former Eskom interim CEO, Matshela Koko, being struck off the roll and the lack of prosecution for the almost 1 500 people who were implicated in state capture.

The Middleburg Regional Court struck the R2.2 billion case against Koko and his 18 co-accused off the roll after the state revealed it wasn’t ready for trial,  a year after the accused were arrested. Investigations into the matter had kicked off in 2017 and the first suspects were arrested in October 2022.

Public Interest SA says the alarming erosion of public trust in the criminal justice system needs to be looked into because criminals are getting away without facing the full might of the law. 

“Recent events, including the removal of the case involving disgraced Koko and others from the court roll, have raised serious concerns about the state of readiness of the Directorate Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) to properly investigate, on the one hand, and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to successfully prosecute, on the other hand, high-profile state capture-related corruption cases,” says Tebogo Khaas, the Public Interest SA chairperson.

The organisation says the striking off the roll of the case(s) has brought to light the challenges and deficiencies within the NPA and the Hawks, highlighting potential obstacles in the pursuit of justice in cases of significant public interest. 

“We have taken proactive steps to address these concerns and ensure that these longstanding criminal matters are prosecuted by officially reaching out to the respective heads of the NPA and the Hawks. We have written letters seeking clarity and updates in relation to the Mohlala assassination and Mbombela stadium fraud and corruption matters. This demonstrates our commitment to engaging with key stakeholders to ensure transparency and accountability in these crucial cases. Government must ensure that the NPA and Hawks receive the requisite funding and resources to ensure that cases are properly and expeditiously investigated and prosecuted,” says Khaas.

Public Interest SA says there needs to be a more comprehensive review of the processes within the criminal justice system to address systemic issues and ensure that justice is served promptly and effectively.

 

Written by: Nonhlanhla Harris

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