Donor funding for the National Prosecuting Authority
18 July 2019
The Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services seeks to clarify what seems to be a misinterpretation of Minister Ronald Lamola’s remarks on the matter of donor funding for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
In fielding questions on donor funding during the media briefing on his Budget Policy Statement for the Office of Chief Justice and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the Minister said:
“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.”;
“For it to be able to function it needs funding. If the fiscus does not have it, the private donor funding must be able to help us. But how do we ensure that the NPA is insulated from any conflict?”;
“Any kind of funding that comes to the NPA should be insulated from the perception of any kind of capture of the NPA,”; and
“Societal and public expectation is that the NPA needs to work and help us to fight the scourge of corruption, so for it to be able to function, it needs funding. If the fiscus does not have it, private donor funding must be able to help us. But how do we ensure that the NPA is insulated?”
It is important to note that, in his statements, the Minister does not state this 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. Donor funding to government is ordinarily channelled through 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. In previous years, various initiatives throughout the history of the NPA have been donor funded/sponsored, which includes:
* European Union – assistance to SA government to prevent and react to human trafficking;
* Royal Danish Commission, United Nations Children's Fund and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – support of Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs). Many thousands of women and children affected by sexual crimes and domestic abuse have been assisted by the TCCs;
* Various training initiatives have been supported by funding from United States Agency for International Development and United Nations Office Drugs and Crime (UNODC) (e.g. financial investigations and anti-corruption);
* Business against Crime funding for the setting up of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Courts; and
* Funding, donations or sponsorships from other governments for specific initiatives/projects.
These were managed in accordance with National Treasury prescripts, duly audited and reported on.
It must be borne in mind that private or donor funding cannot be utilised for compensation of employees. The compensation of employees in the NPA is appropriated by Parliament in terms of the Appropriations Act 2003.
Transparent and carefully managed donor funding will support strategically important processes and capacities without replacing government funding for core operations and staff costs.
The concern that donor/ private funding may influence the NPA is legitimate; this is a perception that we must be vigilant about and constantly manage. It would be imperative to ensure that the acceptance of donor / private funding does not impinge on the independence of the NPA especially with regard its decisions on who it investigates and prosecutes. Therefore, before writing off this option, more thought is needed about how such funding could be accessed, under the guidance of National Treasury. It is impossible to build an effective and efficient organisation without adequate funds.
Issued by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services
Amended 19 July 2019