Issues concerning law enforcement agencies remain untested following State Capture report

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Allegations of political interference, bribery and protection by police of accused persons are among the matters that remain untested following the finalisation of the Inquiry into State Capture.

According to some critics, this arrangement must change, with parliament taking the lead in strengthening the rule of law.  This relates to the law enforcement agencies of the country after the State Capture Inquiry failed to make findings and recommendations on testimony it heard in the sector. According to some critics, this arrangement must change, with parliament taking the lead in strengthening the rule of law.

In receiving the final report of the Inquiry into State Capture in June this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the following. “State Capture has damaged people’s confidence in the rule of law in public institutions and in law enforcement agencies and even to some extent the democratic process this is what makes the work of this commission so important.”

Despite this, Commission Chairperson Raymond Zondo declared that there would be no findings on the evidence relating to the law enforcement agencies. This follows many hours spent by numerous witnesses testifying on the state of affairs in institutions such as the South African Police Services, National Prosecutions Authority and Independent Police Investigations Directorate.

Zondo Commission misses opportunity to examine role of law enforcement agencies in State Capture:

Zondo said that the Commission’s time constraints as well as the complexity of the issues motivated the decision. “It became clear to us that it would require a lot more time than we had thought to investigate properly for example if you talk about whether in deciding to the prosecutor or not to prosecute a prosecutor was acting in pursuit of state capture or some other agenda it is not easy to get evidence to show that because you have got to leave room for the fact that the prosecutor can make a decision in good faith but be wrong.”

Witnesses included former Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, Hawks boss Godfrey Lebeya, former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysens and former IPID head Robert McBride.

Testimony revealed infighting amongst law enforcement agencies political interference in operational matters by political heads, agenda-driven appointments, bribery, intimidation and protection of well-connected businesspeople from prosecution.

Many of these allegations however have gone untested by the Commission. Political Analyst Levy Ndou says this must change. “There has to be a way in which these agencies can be investigated you need to get some form of accountability from these institutions it may not be a very easy activity for the investigations to take place while some of the people are still there in those institutions they will then be able to cover up some of those wrong things that took place in those agencies.”

Ndou says a high-level probe similar to that conducted by Sydney Mufamadi in 2018 into the State Security Agencies should take place with parliament to ensure that it plays its oversight role when the State Capture report is discussed later this year.

“I expect parliament to be very sober when they get a chance to deliberate on this matter I expect parliament to assist the government by ensuring that there are sufficient resources and sufficient political will to ensure that the recommendations are being implemented.”