An analysis of the independence the Special Investigating Unit as an anti-corruption agency in South Africa

Chetty, Jonathan (2017-03)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Arguments relating to anti-corruption agencies have grown in prominence over the last two decades. These arguments have been largely related to the various international agreements binding countries on how best to deal with corruption and the minimum requirements that should be considered in the establishment of Anti-corruption agencies. Critically, key to the effectiveness and impact of anti-corruption agencies are their independence, which renders the agency impartial and free from favour and/or prejudice. Many academics and international organisations call for the independence of anti-corruption agencies tirelessly so as to embed the knowledge necessary for the implementation of independent agencies. The Special Investigating Unit is no different as its mandate is core to both the South African constitutional and anti-corruption imperatives. Hence these must be seen and function independent of political or other influence. The independence of anti-corruption agencies cuts through three critical aspects that must be considered when determining the level of independence it enjoys. These include: organisational, functional and financial independence. The South African Special Investigations Unit does enjoy some independence. However, the emerging question is whether it is independent to the degree that it complies with South Africa’s Constitutional obligations in terms of what is required by existing international obligations or agreements as ratified by South Africa. Establishing the Unit’s overall independence against the test of national legislation and that of the international requirements therefore, paves the way for a critical analysis of the Unit’s organisational, functional and financial independence; which are the focus of this inquiry. The research results show, that while the Unit does not stand out overwhelmingly against international standards, its current statutory independence along with its associated far-reaching powers, appear to have enabled it to remain effective in the fight against corruption. There does however, appear to be a need for some legislative amendments which would only serve to enhance its independence and improve its positioning in South Africa as one of the key, if not the key anti-corruption agency, in South Africa.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Pleidooie in verband met anti-korrupsie agentskappe het oor die afgelope twee dekades toenemend na vore gekom. Hierdie pleidooie het grootliks verband gehou met die verskillende bindende internasionale ooreenkomste tussen lande ten opsigte van die beste manier om korrupsie te hanteer en die minimum vereistes wat by die vestiging van anti-korrupsie agentskappe in ag geneem moet word. Kritiek in hierdie verband is hul onafhanklikheid – die sleutel tot die effektiwiteit en impak van anti-korrupsie agentskappe – wat die agentskap onpartydig en vry van gunste en / of vooroordeel stel. Baie akademici en internasionale organisasies pleit onvermoeid vir die onafhanklikheid van anti-korrupsie agentskappe ten einde die kennis wat vir die implementering van onafhanklike agentskappe nodig is, in te bed. Die Spesiale Ondersoekeenheid is geen uitsondering nie; sy mandaat is sentraal in beide die Suid-Afrikaanse grondwetlike en in teenkorrupsie-imperatiewe. Gevolglik moet dit onafhanklik van politieke of ander invloede gesien word en ook so funksioneer. Die onafhanklikheid van anti-korrupsie agentskappe betrek drie kritieke aspekte wat oorweeg moet om die vlak van onafhanklikheid wat geniet word, te bepaal, naamlik organisatoriese, funksionele en finansiële onafhanklikheid. Die Suid-Afrikaanse Spesiale Ondersoekeenheid geniet wel 'n mate van onafhanklikheid. Die vraag wat opduik is egter of dit sodanig onafhanklik is dat dit aan Suid-Afrika se grondwetlike verpligtinge in terme van bestaande internasionale verpligtinge voldoen, of aan ooreenkomste soos deur Suid-Afrika bekragtig. Om die algehele onafhanklikheid van die Eenheid teen die toets van nasionale wetgewing en dié van die internasionale vereistes te bepaal, het dus die weg vir 'n kritiese analise van die Eenheid se organisatoriese, funksionele en finansiële onafhanklikheid gebaan. Dit was die fokus van hierdie ondersoek. Die navorsingsresultate toon dat die eenheid, alhoewel dit nie oorweldigend by internasionale standaarde uitstaan nie, wel deur sy huidige statutêre onafhanklikheid en sy verwante verreikende mag in staat gestel word om effektief te bly in die stryd teen korrupsie . Dit blyk egter dat daar 'n behoefte bestaan vir 'n sommige wetswysigings wat sal dien om die eenheid se onafhanklikheid te bevorder en sy posisie in Suid-Afrika as een van die belangrike, indien nie die heel belangrikste anti-korrupsie agentskap nie, te verbeter.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/102157
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