Adv. Gerrie Nel resigned as State Prosecutor and will be the Head of AfriForum’s new private prosecuting unit from 1 February 2017. South African legislation makes private prosecution possible in cases where the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decides to not prosecute someone suspected of an offence.
According to Nel, he decided to accept the position at AfriForum because he was concerned over the perception of the NPA’s tendency to selective prosecutions and that everyone was seemingly not equal before the law.
“I believe in the supreme authority of the law. AfriForum’s newly founded private prosecuting unit gives me the opportunity within civilian society to help ensure that everyone, irrespective of position, is equal before the law. AfriForum and I are now in a position to prosecute ourselves corrupt persons who are not prosecuted by the NPA,” says Nel.
Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, says Nel’s appointment is a giant step ahead in AfriForum’s battle against corruption and the pillaging of tax payers’ money. According to Kriel, he trusts that Nel’s appointment will send a clear message to corrupt politicians and officials on national, provincial and local government levels that they can no longer be indemnified from prosecution due to their political contacts.
“Corrupt persons must realise that no-one is above the law, not even the country’s president,” says Kriel.
Nel will now start with a process to involve other experts in AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, to ensure that AfriForum has the strongest possible ability to intervene where the system of criminal law neglects to let justice prevail.
According to Nel, he will start with an investigation to determine which public officials against whom there is a strong case are not being prosecuted.
Kriel pointed out that even though it is very expensive to prosecute privately, it means that with Nel’s appointment at AfriForum private prosecution is no longer an unobtainable dream.
AfriForum says through Kriel that every member of the public can play a major role in making the new prosecuting unit stronger by contributing to the legal costs. To make it easy, a system was created through which the public can donate R10 for the legal costs by simply sending an SMS with their name to 38312.