Resources

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Discussion Document: NPA Accountability, trust and public interest
Author: Jean
Published: Feb 19, 2019

This discussion document deals with three key concepts associated with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and its relation to the public, namely accountability, public interest and trust. It is suggested that for the NPA to be regarded as a legitimate institution it needs to enjoy trust and in order to enjoy such trust, it needs to be seen and perceived to act in the public interest in an accountable manner.

Fact Sheet 7: The appointment and dismissal of the NDPP
Author: Jean
Published: Oct 24, 2018

The recent announcement by President Ramaphosa to call together a committee of experts to assist him to appoint a new National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) is unprecedented, and an extremely important move in the right direction towards greater transparency and accountability at South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority. An earlier report by ACJR dealt in detail with the problems at the NPA and, amongst others, recommended that the appointment procedure of the NDPP be reformed. In this fact sheet the current procedure for the appointment and dismissal of the NDPP is set out and problems identified. This should inform debate and stimulate ideas on the reforms we would like to see.

Solitary Confinement - A review of the legal framework and practice in five African countries
Author: Jean
Published: Oct 23, 2018

This report investigates the legal frameworks of five African countries (Kenya Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia) as they relate to the use of solitary confinement. The effect of long periods of solitary confinement have been shown to have severe impacts on a prisoner’s mental and physical well-being. The UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) has noted that the use of prolonged solitary confinement may amount to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in breach of Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In December 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the revised United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, also known as the Nelson Mandela Rules (‘2015 UNSMR’). The 2015 UNSMR addresses a key shortcoming in the protection and treatment of people in places of detention, as it, for the first time, sets down norms and limitations on the use of solitary confinement. The report concludes that there are major areas of non-compliance in each of the countries and this requires urgent attention.

S v Frederick & S v Maxhongo
Author: Jean
Published: Jul 11, 2018

S v Frederick & S v Maxhongo, Judgment on Review 11 July 2018, Review 18531 and Review 18532. The Court asked that in cases where there is a long history of drug use and abuse, the prosecution should rather request a probation officer’s report to investigate the accused’s circumstances and the desirability or not of prosecution.

ACJR Submission on the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Amendment Bill (2018)
Author: Jean
Published: Jun 28, 2018

It is our submission that the issue to be addressed, namely the independence of IPID also relates to the relationship between IPID and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and this submission focuses on that relationship as described in section 7(4-5) of the IPID Act. It will be submitted below that the effectiveness and impact of IPID is essentially at the mercy of the NPA.

Journal article: Modest beginnings, high hopes: The Western Cape Police Ombudsman
Author: Lukas
Published: Jun 01, 2018

In 2013 the Western Cape legislature passed the Western Cape Community Safety Act (WCCSA) to improve monitoring of and oversight over the police. One creation of the WCCSA is the Western Cape Police Ombudsman, which became operational in 2015. This article reviews its history and context, as well as results from its first year. The Police Ombudsman, the only one in the country, must be seen as one of the results of efforts by the opposition-held province to carve out more powers in the narrowly defined constitutional space, and in so doing to exercise more effective oversight and monitoring of police performance, and improve police–community relations. The Ombudsman must also be seen against the backdrop of poor police–community relations in Cape Town and the subsequent establishment of a provincial commission of inquiry into the problem, a move that was opposed by the national government, contesting its constitutionality. Results from the Ombudsman’s first 18 months in operation are modest, but there are promising signs. Nonetheless, the office is small and it did not do itself any favours by not complying with its legally mandated reporting requirements.

ACJR Submission on Parole in South Africa
Author: Jean
Published: May 28, 2018

In late May 2018 the Department of Correctional Services in South Africa hosted a roundtable to discuss its “Position paper: a revised parole system for South Africa”. Submissions were invited prior to the round table and ACJR made a submission critical of the position paper. Key problems identified, amongst others, are: the lack of quantitative data in the position paper making it difficult to formulate policy in the absence of fact; the large number of prisoners serving life imprisonment received scant attention; and that proposed separate legislation to govern parole may not solve problems in the current system.

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