Executive Director of Corruption Watch David Lewis says President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment of Advocate Hermione Cronje as Head of the new Investigating Directorate at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) demonstrates his commitment to fighting with corruption.

The establishment of the unit was announced in the State of the Nation Address in February.

In March, Ramaphosa proclaimed the establishment of the new Investigating Directorate.

The Investigating Directorate is tasked with investigating common law offences including fraud, forgery, uttering, theft and any offence involving dishonesty.

Lewis has described the appointment as a great development.

“We’re very positive about the pace at which this has unfolded because I think the principal purpose of the directorate as it was stated in the State of the Nation address is to deal with corruption offences effectively. It was the right idea from the start. Advocate Cronje has a very solid, impressive reputation. I don’t know her but I have read about her and heard about her,” says Lewis.

From 1998 to 2012, Adv Cronje was employed in various capacities in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of South Africa – first as an assistant to the first National Director of Public Prosecutions; as founding member of the Asset Forfeiture Unit, and for 10 years as Regional Head of the Asset Forfeiture Unit in the Western Cape.

In her last year in the NPA she was involved in the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT), a multi-agency task team established to investigate, prosecute and recover the assets of persons involved in large-scale corruption.

Since 2013, Adv Cronje has been engaged as a consultant on behalf of the Stolen Assets Recovery Initiative (StAR) – a joint initiative of the World Bank and UNODC. In this capacity she has worked as an advisor and mentor to asset recovery and anti-corruption units in Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova and Sri Lanka.

She is also a practising advocate of the High Court of South Africa.

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