New anti-corruption unit boss: ‘We have enough money’

The head of the new anti-corruption investigative directorate in the NPA says she has enough funding to do her job.

Advocate Hermione Cronje delivered the keynote address at the 2019 Nat Nakasa Awards ceremony of the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) on Saturday.

She set the record straight about reports that the NPA was underfunded to properly fight state capture.

“We have enough money, from the state and private sector. The difficulty is to decide what to spend the money on.”

Cronje said some of the frustrations she is experiencing in the NPA is the time it takes to make an appointment. “It’s worse than I anticipated,” said Cronje, who was a prosecutor before she left for the Cape Bar.

She lauded journalists for the role they played in exposing state capture and corruption. “You did all the work. My job is now to figure out how to take us there (to prosecutions).”

Calling journalists the “superheroes of democracy”, Cronje thanked the media for unearthing information that led to the establishment of the Zondo, Nugent, Mokgoro and Mpati commissions. 

“The situation (at the NPA) is much worse than I had anticipated. The journalists, civil society and NGOs carried this democracy while our institutions failed spectacularly.”

Cronje had harsh words for the State Security Agency that, according to her, didn’t detect state capture or act on it. “Instead they were monitoring journalists who were trying to do their work.”

She would not have accepted the job if she didn’t think “we had a fighting chance”. But because of the work done by journalists, she is confident “we will get there”. It was important to explain to the electorate why fighting corruption was important, she said.

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