Breytenbach slams Ramaphosa’s Anti-Corruption Investigating Directorate for doing “nothing”…

 The Investigating Directorate (ID) set up by President Cyril Ramaphosa four years ago has done “nothing”. That is the charge by Glynnis Breytenbach, the Democratic Alliance’so (DA’s) Shadow Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development. She says “arrests don’t translate into anything at all, unless the case goes to court and a trial runs, somebody’s convicted and somebody goes to jail”. Meanwhile, Breytenbach is driving the bill that will see an Anti-Corruption Commission set up outside the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). This will be an independent Chapter 9 institution that will prosecute high-level corruption cases. “You can tell the politicians to bugger off and nobody can do anything to you. You’re answerable to Parliament and the courts. That’s it.” She slams another bill recently introduced to Parliament to make Ramaphosa’s ID a permanent structure within the NPA when it’s five-year life span comes to an end next year: “they’re waving the bill around as the answer to corruption…It’s political smoke and mirrors to try and convince South Africans that the ANC is serious about stopping corruption. Oh, ha, ha.” In his State of the Nation Address earlier this year, President Ramaphosa said the ID had taken 187 accused people to court in 32 state capture and corruption cases, and over R7 billion had so far been returned to the state from state capture cases while R12.9 billion in funds and assets had been frozen.Chris Steyn

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Relevant timestamps from the interview

  • 00:09 – Introductions
  • 00:31 – Glynnis Breytenbach on what’s happening with the Anti-Corruption commission
  • 04:00 – What the anti corruption commission will deal with
  • 06:06 – how would the commission protect itself from political interference.
  • 09:34 – On what would be the first case she would like that commission to take up.
  • 09:57 – Conclusions

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Highlights from the interview

The Investigating Directorate (ID) set up by President Cyril Ramaphosa four years ago has done “nothing”.

That is the charge by Glynnis Breytenbach, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) Shadow Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development.

The ID was established by Presidential proclamation in March 2019, specifically to investigate corruption-related crimes.

“No State Capture cases have been prosecuted to date except the one in the Free State, which was an unmitigated disaster,” Breytenbach tells BizNews.

Read more: Glynnis Breytenbach: Beating SA’s corrupt, reform criminal justice – dynamite

“They’ve done nothing…We don’t see any movement. We keep asking them…So there are no cases in court from the ID. Certainly there have been no convictions. 

“There were a couple of arrests made in December…the flurry of arrests, but the arrests don’t translate into anything at all, unless the case goes to court and a trial runs, somebody’s convicted and somebody goes to jail. There’s no big deal in arresting somebody. We don’t know what happened to those people who were arrested. We don’t see them appearing in court. And certainly, there are no trials on the go that I’m aware of.”

Meanwhile, Breytenbach is driving the bill that will see an Anti-Corruption Commission set up outside the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).  

If established, this commission will prosecute “the type of corruption that we found in State Capture and and other high-level corruption like Steinhoff and high-level organised crime in order to…get those cases dealt with effectively and efficiently, which is not happening now, but also to free the NPA up to deal with all the other matters that they are forced to deal with on a daily basis because people want to see connected politicians going to jail and I understand that – and so do I.”

Read more: If Glynnis Breytenbach were Minister of Justice…

Breytenbach points out that the ID, which is now touted as IDAC (The Investigating Directorate Against Corruption), does not meet the criteria of independence or security of tenure because it can be dissolved “at the whim” of a majority in Parliament.

“So as soon as the politicians don’t like the bite, they just dissolve you and off you go again.”

She recalls how that has happened before. “The DSO was a very effective corruption-busting unit, the Scorpions. When it went after politicians, it became uncomfortable. They didn’t like it, and so they disbanded it. And they did so by a mere majority vote in Parliament because it was part of the National Prosecuting Authority and that’s how it works.”

In contrast, setting up the Anti-Corruption Commission as a Chapter 9 institution would require a much higher majority in Parliament in order to dissolve it. “It’s a majority that the ANC (African National Congress) will never ever see again in this country. So that meets the requirement of independence and it meets the requirement of security of tenure so you can actually do your job. You can tell the politicians to bugger off and nobody can do anything to you. You’re answerable to Parliament and the courts. That’s it.”

Meanwhile, another bill has been introduced to Parliament to make the ID a permanent structure within the NPA when it’s five-year lifespan comes to an end next year. 

This move is slammed by Breytenbach who says: “they’re waving the bill around as the answer to corruption…the minister’s little bill is not the answer. It’s political smoke and mirrors to try and convince South Africans that the ANC is serious about stopping corruption. Oh, ha, ha.”

Asked which case she would like the Anti-Corruption Commission to pursue first, Breytenbach says:  “Oh, there’s a whole raft of them … .Really, there’s so many…I mean, it’s like a kid in a candy shop. There’s all of the State Capture cases. You can take the entire Zondo Commission recommendations, all of those cases, and just do them and have a great amount of fun doing all of them, yeah.”

* In his State of the Nation Address earlier this year, President Ramaphosa spoke about the role of the ID in following up on the State Capture Commission’s recommendations thus far.  According to him, the ID has taken 187 accused people to court in 32 state capture and corruption cases, and over R7 billion has so far been returned to the state from state capture cases while R12.9 billion in funds and assets have been frozen.

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