NPA donor funding proposal not set in stone

Friday, July 19, 2019

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has clarified his statement on the matter of donor funding for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

“The concern that donor or private funding may influence the NPA is legitimate; this is a perception that we must be vigilant about and constantly manage. Before writing off this option, more thought is needed about how such funding could be accessed, under the guidance of National Treasury,” said the Minister.

On Tuesday, during his budget policy statement in Parliament, the Minister remarked that while R3.9 billion of his department’s budget would be allocated to the NPA this was still not enough.

In fielding questions on donor funding during a media briefing, Lamola proposed that donor funding must be explored within the confines of the law.  

“We are in engagement with the National Treasury to see that whatever private funding is intended for the NPA, the NPA is insulated from any form of perceived or real kind of compromise of its independence,” said Lamola in response to questions during the briefing.

Clarifying Lamola’s remarks, his spokesperson Chrispin Phiri said the Minister does not state that the matter is a forgone conclusion.

“On the contrary, the Minister makes it plain that it is a matter that should be explored with the involvement of the National Treasury. If this funding option is to be pursued, it would have to be consistent with the current practice wherein donor funding supports various programmes in government, including the NPA,” said Phiri.

In previous years, various initiatives throughout the history of the NPA have been donor funded/sponsored, including the:

  • European Union which gave assistance to government to prevent and react to human trafficking;
  • Royal Danish Commission, United Nations Children's Fund and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which support of Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs).
  • Various training initiatives have been supported by funding from United States Agency for International Development and United Nations Office Drugs and Crime (UNODC) such as financial investigations and anti-corruption;
  • Business Against Crime funding has been used for the setting up of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Courts; and
  • Funding, donations or sponsorships have been used from other governments for specific initiatives/projects.

According to the department these were managed in accordance with National Treasury prescripts, duly audited and reported on.

The department said transparent and carefully managed donor funding will support strategically important processes and capacities without replacing government funding for core operations and staff costs.

Private or donor funding, however, cannot be utilised for compensation of employees as the compensation of employees in the NPA is appropriated by Parliament in terms of the Appropriations Act 2003.

“It would be imperative to ensure that the acceptance of donor or private funding does not impinge on the independence of the NPA especially with regard its decisions on who it investigates and prosecutes.

“Therefore. It is impossible to build an effective and efficient organisation without adequate funds,” said Phiri. –