South Africa-Funding-Inquiry

S/Africa: Unions reject offer by business to fund law enforcement agencies

APA-Johannesburg (South Africa)

Despite the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) encouraging “the immediate prosecution of those implicated in state corruption,” the move to bring in private entities to assist in funding the prosecutions could lead to another state capture, SAFTU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Friday.

Vavi was commenting on Business Unity South Africa (BUSA)’s offer “to provide necessary resources” to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Hawks (police crack unit) to help them fund the prosecution of Commission of Inquiry into State Capture cases. 

The NPA and the Hawks this week announced the establishment of a taskforce in response to the commission’s first report which highlights the need to prosecute alleged state capture (corruption) cases, and that it welcomed the private sector’s financial contributions towards prosecuting the culprits.

Rejecting BUSA’s offer, Vavi said “we believe that there is no free money. Money talks. It changes the opinions of individuals, and influences the thinking of institutions.”

“You cannot ask the very same people implicated by acts of corruption to offer money to investigate other corrupt business persons. We believe this is a conflict of interest.”

He added: “Despite its good intentions, we do not doubt the integrity of some of the individual members of BUSA. But, please, not at an institutional level. You can’t do that.” 

BUSA chief executive Cas Coovadia said the business sector had no intention of infringing on the independence of the NPA.

“But the NPA had indicated previously – and publicly – that they have resource and capacity constraints. They have to be well-resourced and capacitated to urgently act on the recommendations of the commission,” Coovadia said.

“We are very cognizant of the point that SAFTU is making. That is why we have said we are making the offer. Ideally, government should immediately resource the NPA and the Hawks,” the chief executive said.

NM/jn/APA

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