Ramaphosa signs new bills to end GBV and fight state capture corruption

24 May 2024 - 12:57
By Rorisang Kgosana
President Cyril Ramaphosa signed two bills into law on Friday to fight gender-based violence and to investigate state capture corruption.
Image: X/@PresidencyZA President Cyril Ramaphosa signed two bills into law on Friday to fight gender-based violence and to investigate state capture corruption.

President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law two new bills on Friday which are critical in fighting gender-based violence (GBV) and investigating high-profile corruption cases.

Ramaphosa signed the National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Bill and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Amendment Bill.

“As we mark 30 years of democracy we know our aspirations to be a truly free and equal society cannot be achieved as long as criminals steal the resources meant for the benefit of the people and women and children do not feel safe and free to walk our streets,” he said.

The legislation on GBV is to establish the National Council on GBV and femicide dedicated to the safety and security of women through a collective approach to combat violence against women.

The statutory council will be a multisectoral body made up of expertise from civil society, labour and business, mandated to provide strategic leadership in eliminating GBV, said Ramaphosa.

“Establishing this council was one of the resolutions of the first presidential summit on gender-based violence and femicide, which I convened in 2018.

“We need a national effort that is more inclusive, more focused and better resourced. We are confident this council will provide much of what we need and will further strengthen the national effort to eradicate violence against women and children.”

The NPA Amendment Bill amends the NPA Act to establish the Investigating Directorate against Corruption.

This directorate will eventually incorporate the Investigating Directorate (ID) established five years ago within the NPA to investigate corruption and other serious crimes identified by the commission of inquiry into state capture.

The ID has seen progress in the five years, including taking 39 state capture and corruption cases to court which involved 212 accused people and 68 accused entities.

During that period, the NPA also convicted 700 government officials for corruption while its Asset Forfeiture Unit restrained and preserved “state capture” assets valued at more than R14bn. More than R6bn has been recovered so far, said Ramaphosa.

“The Investigating Directorate against Corruption will be a permanent, prosecution-led agency with full criminal investigating powers. This legislation will help overcome challenges with capacity and expertise within the NPA to investigate and prosecute complex cases.”

The newly established ID against Corruption will be able to recruit and retain specialist skills to deliver its mandate while permanent criminal investigators will be appointed with full police powers.

“Today we are taking another important step in our quest to promote accountability. The criminal actions of those involved in corruption and the perpetrators of gender-based violence may differ in nature but the consequences of both are devastating,” Ramaphosa said.