President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Advocate Hermione Cronje to head up the National Prosecuting Authority’s investigative directorate.
The president created the directorate – which is similar to the defunct Scorpions – in March, to focus on fraud and corruption, and cases emanating from the state capture commission of inquiry.
Ramaphosa has again opted to appoint a legal professional who has spent significant time outside of the national prosecuting authority.
While advocate Cronje joined the NPA in 1998 and served in several key positions, she in left in 2012 to consult on an initiative started by the World Bank.
Like newly appointed prosecutions boss Shamiela Batohi, she would have been absent during the most turbulent times in the NPA.
Cronje started her career in the organisation as an assistant to the first prosecutions boss Bulelani Ngcuka and was later a founding member of the Asset Forfeiture Unit.
She then went on to help establish the anti-corruption task team.
Ramaphosa has appointed Cronje as an investigating director for a period of five years.
Read the full statement from the Presidency below:
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.
In March 2019 President 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.
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.
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.
From 1998 to 2012, she was employed in various capacities in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of South Africa – first as an assistant to the first National Director of Public Prosecutions; as founding member of the Asset Forfeiture Unit, and 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.
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.
She is also a practising advocate of the High Court of South Africa.
In 2017 she drafted a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Study on the Effective Management and Disposal of Seized and Confiscated Assets.
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.