Ahead of an anticipated "avalanche" of cases emanating from the State Capture Inquiry, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has made corruption its priority, said prosecutions boss Advocate Shamila Batohi.
In a briefing on Monday, Batohi said the NPA was preparing to strategically select cases arising from the State Capture Inquiry, based on its limited resources. She added that fighting corruption will remain the NPA's top priority.
"Moving forward, there's going to be an avalanche of work coming from the Zondo Commission. There will be an expectation that there will be quick successes … but there is a big difference between testifying in a commission and putting together a watertight case," said Batohi.
"It will take time to go through that and be very strategic about what the cases are that we take … and that we have the necessary resources to deal with them."
Under the NPA's watch, corruption convictions have seen an uptick compared to last year, said Batohi.
In government, there were 31 corruption-related convictions last year. By the end of the second quarter of this year, there were already 53 convictions. In the private sector, the NPA recorded 84 convictions by the end of the second quarter, in comparison to last year's 68 convictions.
Batohi said while corruption had always been a focus area for the NPA, it had now been decided that while work will continue in other areas, corruption would be prioritised by the NPA. This would include a focus on asset recovery, she said, as well as taking "less serious" cases to court while prosecutors take time working on more complex cases.
The office would also be working to bring in the needed skills to prosecute grand corruption, with Batohi saying this would be done in the next six months to a year.
"Addressing corruption is not a spirit, it is a marathon. But we are on the right track. What is clear is impunity is no longer a given. The taps of corruption and rent-seeking are being closed. There are important cases that have been brought to court that demonstrate [the] rule of law in county is our guiding light," she said.