While the wheels of justice are known to turn slowly, they seem to be picking up some speed as far as municipal corruption goes under the watch of National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi.
She, together with head of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) Andy Mothibi and Hawks head Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya addressed the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on Tuesday on the SIU’s cases in the municipal sphere.
Batohi said there were 86 cases before the courts, but not all were related to SIU investigations.
She said last year in October they had nine cases emanating from SIU investigations – not only related to municipalities – before the courts, now they had 21 cases before the courts from SIU investigations related to municipalities alone.
She said this was a clear indication that the National Prosecution Authority’s (NPA) “new processes and systems resulted in a significant increase” in the past four months.
In total, 64 cases from the SIU were related to municipalities. Of these, 25 were under investigation, 21 before the court, and 18 had been finalised in court.
“There’s a lot of movement in this space, where months ago there wasn’t,” Batohi said.
However, Batohi said they were still facing “huge, huge challenges”.
She said some of the cases might find their way to the special investigative directorate in her office, which had been set up to investigate state capture.
One of the cases still under investigation was that of VBS Mutual Bank.
Lebeya didn’t want to say too much about the investigation because “this one is a live investigation”.
He said they had already compiled more than 1,200 statements for the investigation, and they were “very close to dealing with some of the legs” of the investigations.
“We are working very closely with our lawyers – the NPA – to make sure we’re not rushing things and closing the loopholes,” he said.