JUSTICE, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs secretary Virginia Mabhiza has warned that the paltry $500 000 allocated to the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) could compromise its independence as the authority will be forced to continue operating from the Magistrates’ Court offices where it is currently based.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
Mabhiza made the remarks on Wednesday during a post-budget meeting where she was addressing members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
According to Mabhiza, the ministry had requested $36,3 million to secure new office space and furniture for the NPA under the 2014 National Budget.
“There is need to resource the NPA to district level and provide them with basic tools of trade like furniture, equipment, computers and vehicles for the 52 stations and vehicles for conditions of service for it to be operational,” said Mabhiza.
“Currently, the officers are housed at the Magistrates’ Courts and this compromises justice delivery as these two offices should operate independent of each other,” she said.
Mabhiza said after the Judicial Services Commission was operationalised, the prosecutors were left with inadequate office furniture and equipment.
“Nothing was provided for in the 2014 budget in respect of the procurement of offices and other capital expenditure items,” she said.
The new Constitution provided for the National Prosecution Authority and a separate Attorney-General (AG)’s Office.
Former AG Johannes Tomana then assumed the post of Prosecutor-General while the post of AG is yet to be filled.
A legal framework to fully operationalise the NPA is yet to be crafted as well as different pieces of legislation to align the laws with the new Constitution.