The contribution mediation can make in addressing economic crime in corporate and commercial relationships in South Africa

Hoffman, Cornelia Hendrina (2019-12)

Thesis (LLD)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Economic crime is complex and costly. It is costly because it harms victims, both directly and indirectly, as well as the broader economy. The cost is not only financial, but also to confidence and trust in corporate and commercial relationships in South Africa. Economic crime is complex because it includes offences from common-law fraud to statutory contraventions such as incorrect bookkeeping. There are several mechanisms in the South African legal justice system to address economic crime. The conventional legal models include adversarial criminal prosecution of the offender and civil compensation claims, the model of inquisitorial administrative investigations and sanctions like penalties and compensation orders. In 2001 section 105A of the Criminal Procedure Act, namely plea and sentencing agreements, was added as a model of negotiated justice. This mechanism allows the prosecution and the offender to negotiate and enter into an agreement regarding the charges and the sanctions, subject to approval of the court that the plea of guilty is proper and that the proposed sanction is a just sentence. This dissertation proposes that mediation be added to the existing alternative models to help combat economic crime. Mediation involves negotiated justice, as well as restorative justice. More specifically, mediation as a restorative justice process, constitutes a practical alternative to standard litigation as the affected parties themselves, with the facilitation of a third person, resolve the disputes between them. Mediation, a facilitative and flexible procedure, allows the voices of both the victim and the offender to be heard securely and meaningfully. Mediation is rehabilitative and allows for agreed restorative provisions for both the perpetrator and the victims of economic crime. The outcome is a proposed amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, namely the insertion of section 105B, “Mediated Settlement Agreements”, that will provide for mediation and a mediated settlement agreement to be incorporated into and form part of the criminal justice processes. It is envisaged that an accredited mediator will mediate between the parties, including the public prosecutor, the perpetrator, the victim and possibly members of the community. The mediated settlement agreement will include both compensation for the victims and a proposed sentence for the perpetrator. This mediated settlement agreement will then be tabled before the court for adjudication and approval to serve as an effective court order. The proposal is a logical legal development of section 105A of the Criminal Procedure Act on plea and sentencing agreements, as the process of mediation builds on the process of negotiation established in it. To put it bluntly, if a plea and sentence agreement can be negotiated between the prosecutor and the offender, a plea and sentence agreement can be mediated between the prosecutor, the offender and the victim. Mediation can integrate and expand the constitutional principles of reparation and ubuntu and curb economic crime by providing an effective restorative and just response to it.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Ekonomiese misdaad is kompleks en kom teen ʼn prys. Hierdie prys is dikwels sowel direk as indirek, aangesien nie net die slagoffer nie, maar ook die breër ekonomie skade berokken word. Verliese is nie net finansieel van aard nie: ekonomiese misdaad skaad ook die vertroue in en die geloofwaardigheid van korporatiewe- en kommersiële verhoudings in Suid-Afrika. Ekonomiese misdaad is kompleks omrede dit oortredings, vanaf gemeenregtelike bedrog tot statutêre oortredings, soos byvoorbeeld foutiewe boekhouding, kan insluit. Die Suid-Afrikaanse regstelsel beskik oor verskeie meganismes om ekonomiese misdaad aan te spreek. Konvensionele regsmodelle behels adversersatiewe strafregtelike vervolging van die oortreder en siviele skadevergoedingsaksies, ‘n inkwisitoriese model van administratiewe ondersoek en sanksies in die vorm van boetes en skadevergoedingsbevele. In 2001 is pleit- en vonnisooreenkomste ingevolge artikel 105A van die Strafproseswet bygevoeg en is op die model van onderhandelde geregtigheid geskoei. Hierdie meganisme gee sowel die aanklaer as die oortreder die geleentheid om te onderhandel en ʼn ooreenkoms te bereik rakende die aanklagte en die sanksie. So ʼn ooreenkoms vereis die goedkeuring van die hof, wat moet vasstel of die pleit van skuldig juridies korrek en die voorgestelde vonnis regverdig is. Hierdie verhandeling stel voor dat bemiddeling bygevoeg moet word tot die bestaande alternatiewe metodes vir die bekamping van ekonomiese misdaad. Bemiddeling behels sowel onderhandelde geregtigheid as herstellende geregtigheid. Bemiddeling is by uitstek ʼn herstellende geregtigheidsproses en bied ʼn praktiese alternatief tot standaard litigasie omrede die geaffekteerde partye self, met die fasilitering van ʼn derde persoon, die geskille tussen hulle besleg. As ʼn fasiliterende en buigsame prosedure laat bemiddeling toe dat die stemme van sowel die slagoffer as die oortreder met veiligheid en sinvol gehoor word. Bemiddeling rehabiliteer en bied ruimte vir ooreengekome herstellende bepalings vir sowel die oortreder as die slagoffers van ekonomiese misdaad. Hierdie verhandeling stel voor dat die Strafproseswet 51 van 1977 gewysig word, deur die toevoeging van artikel 105B “Gemedieërde Skikkingsooreenkomste”, wat voorsiening daarvoor sal maak dat bemiddeling en skikkingsooreenkomste wat as ʼn resultaat van sodanige bemiddeling bereik is by die bestaande strafregtelike prosedures toegevoeg word. Daar word voorgestel dat ʼn geakkrediteerde bemiddelaar die geskille tussen die partye, insluitende die aanklaer, die oortreder, die slagoffer en moontlik lede van die gemeenskap, sal bemiddel. Sodanige skikkingsooreenkoms sal skadevergoeding vir die slagoffers asook ʼn voorstel vir ʼn geskikte vonnis vir die oortreder insluit. Die gemedieërde skikkingsooreenkoms sal vervolgens voor die hof dien vir oorweging en goedkeuring om as ʼn effektiewe hofbevel te kan funksioneer. Die voorstel is ʼn logiese prosesregtelike ontwikkeling van pleit- en vonnisooreenkomste ingevolge artikel 105A van die Strafproseswet aangesien die proses van bemiddeling voortbou op die beginsel van onderhandelde geregtigheid wat reeds daarin vervat is. Eenvoudig gestel, indien ʼn pleit- en vonnisooreenkoms onderhandel kan word tussen ʼn aanklaer en ʼn oortreder, kan ʼn pleit- en vonnis ooreenkoms ook bemiddel word tussen die aanklaer, die oortreder en die slagoffer. Bemiddeling kan die konstitusionele beginsels van regstelling en ubuntu integreer en verbreed, en terselfdertyd bydra om ekonomiese misdaad te bekamp deur die daarstelling van ʼn doeltreffend herstellende en regverdige antwoord daarop.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107281
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