PRETORIA – South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Adv Hermione Theresa Cronje as head of the Investigating Directorate in the Office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions, the presidency revealed Friday.
In March 2019, Mr Ramaphosa proclaimed the establishment of an Investigating Directorate in the Office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions, in terms of Section 7(1) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act, 1998 (Act No.32 of 1998).
The Investigating Directorate is tasked with investigating common law offences including fraud, forgery, uttering, theft and any offence involving dishonesty.
The presidency said in a statement late Friday that Ramaphosa, whose African National Congress got a fresh mandate to govern the rich southern African country after it won the general elections last week, had appointed someone to head the directorate.
“President Ramaphosa has in terms of Section 13(1)(b) read with Section 14 of the National Prosecuting Authority Act appointed Adv Cronje as an Investigating Director for a period of five years with effect from 15 May 2019,” said the Presidency in the statement.
“Adv Cronje has a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government (2010); and a BA (1993) and LLB (1996) from the University of Cape Town.”
Cronje worked for the NPA for more than a decade, serving in various capacities in the period spanning 1998 to 2012. She was first as an assistant to the first National Director of Public Prosecutions, became founding member of the Asset Forfeiture Unit and worked for 10 years as Regional Head of the Asset Forfeiture Unit in the Western Cape.
“In her last year in the NPA, she was involved in the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT), a multi-agency task team established to investigate, prosecute and recover the assets of persons involved in large-scale corruption,” added the presidency.
“Since 2013, Adv Cronje has been engaged as a consultant on behalf of the Stolen Assets Recovery Initiative (StAR) – a joint initiative of the World Bank and UNODC. In this capacity she has worked as an advisor and mentor to asset recovery and anti-corruption units in Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova and Sri Lanka.”
A practising advocate of the High Court of South Africa, Cronje is credited with having drafted a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Study on the Effective Management and Disposal of Seized and Confiscated Assets in 2017.
The Investigating Directorate she will lead in her new role will attend to statutory offences including but not limited to contraventions of:
• The Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 6 of 2000;
• The Prevention of Organised Crime Act 121 of 1988;
• The Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act 33 of 2004;
• The Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999;
• The Municipal Management Act 56 of 2003;
• The Financial Intelligence Centre Act 38 of 2001; and
• Any other statutory offence involving dishonesty.
“In addition, the directorate will investigate any unlawful activities relating to serious, high-profile or complex corruption including but not limited to offences or criminal or unlawful activities arising from current commissions and enquiries.”