SOUTH African Finance Minister, Enoch Godongwana has kept a promise to significantly increase spending on safety and security over the next three years to appoint 15 000 police trainees and 120 staff members for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as it pursues state capture cases.
Feb. 23, 2023
2 min read
SA Budget brings more money for police, NPA
SA Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana
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The safety and security budget will increase by just under R20 billion between the current and 2025-26 financial years.
Of that, R7.8 billion will go towards the police budget to appoint 5 000 recruits a year and absorb them into the service once they have completed training.
A further R1.3 billion will go to the NPA to support the implementation of the recommendations of the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture, and to implement recommendations from the pending evaluation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on South Africa’s legal framework for fighting money-laundering and terror financing.
The allocation will support new appointments at the NPA and the Investigating Directorate, with a focus on employing specialists who can prosecute complex financial crimes and commissioning forensic auditors and accountants who can deal with high-priority asset forfeiture matters.
Weaknesses have become apparent in both these areas as the state strives to bring grand corruption cases to court — the first state capture trial finally began in January — and attempt to recover billions lost to money-laundering networks, chief among them the fugitive Gupta brothers and their business associates.
Chief Justice Raymond Zondo memorably remarked that it would take “an army of prosecutors” to carry out the investigations he called for in his report, and lamented the NPA’s poor track record in successfully bringing graft cases to court.
The Asset Forfeiture Unit has been under pressure to increase the value of freezing orders after falling far short of its annual target of R1.8 billion.
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The Special Investigating Unit will get a budget boost of R100 million over the next three years, to enable it to bring civil litigation to the Special Tribunal in cases flowing from proclamations issued by the president in response to the findings on state capture.
The tribunal has contributed significantly to financial recovery of ill-gotten gains but its legal standing has been challenged before the constitutional court, which is still to rule on the matter.
The Financial Intelligence Centre will get an additional R265.3 million over the medium-term to implement both the recommendations of the Zondo commission and the FAFT. It would allow the Financial Intelligence Centre to appoint 107 staff members, which would include forensic accountants, inspectors, strategic analysts and enforcement officers.
Some of the additional allocation for the cluster will be spent on establishing a forensic data centre and providing security for whistleblowers. – M&G
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