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National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Advocate Shamila Batohi, warned people involved in corrupt activities that "impunity is no longer a given."

Speaking at a media roundtable on Wednesday alongside the National Prosecuting Authority's executive committee, Batohi noted that there is a big difference between the situation five years ago and now, suggesting to look at South Africa's multinational company, Steinhoff.

Former Steinhoff director Stephanus Grobler appeared in court last month over racketeering charges, three counts of fraud worth R21 billion, manipulation of financial statements and failure to report fraudulent activities. Whereas, former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste committed suicide last month, just one day before he was asked to surrender himself to law enforcement.

Giving an example of this case, Batohi said, "The one big difference between what was the position five years ago and what's the position now... is that impunity is no longer a given and the Steinhoff matter shows that. Even though it might take long."

She added, "Even though the arm of the law might be long, it catches up. Those that are involved in corrupt activities know – even though there might not be a knock on the door yet – it will come and that in itself is mental incarceration."

Batohi further said that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been hard at work to take legal action against well-known figures including Ministers, Premiers, a former President, some of the most powerful CEOs and CFOs from both private and public sectors across the country.

She shared that over the last five years, nearly 700 government officials have been found guilty of corruption by the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit (SCCU).

In just one year and four months, the SCCU secured 329 convictions in cases involving serious and intricate commercial crimes, achieving an impressive conviction rate of 88.7%.

"The SCCU has enrolled four cases relating to 16 recommendations in the Zondo Commission reports and several other matters will be ready for enrolment in the coming months," Batohi said. "The ID [Investigating Directorate] has declared 103 investigations. They've enrolled 37 cases involving 208 accused persons as of January 2024."

Batohi emphasized that it's important for South Africans to acknowledge that reaching the judgment stage takes a considerable amount of time and the process is led by the judiciary.

Last year, a former Eskom official - who used to work as an administrative clerk - was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment for defrauding the power utility of R2.6 million.