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THE National Prosecuting Authority has restructured the commercial crimes unit and sidelined its head, Chris Jordaan, despite assurances to the contrary from Justice Minister Jeff Radebe.
The DA said yesterday the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit "remains decapitated and disbanded" in line with plans unveiled by NPA boss Menzi Simelane in mid-April.
Simelane was subsequently told by Radebe in a meeting on April 29 to put on hold moves to restructure the SCCU and three other specialised crime-fighting units within the NPA.
The plan targeted the Asset Forfeiture Unit, the priority crimes litigation unit and the sexual offences unit. It envisioned curtailing the independence of the units by placing them under the provincial directors of public prosecution. It caused an outcry, with commentators accusing Simelane of trying to weaken the AFU with its history of tackling high profile cases.
Radebe said last week that the AFU remained "intact" and Simelane's plan was on ice. Asked about the other three specialised units, he said the same applied to them.
However, the DA said Jordaan had left his office and been moved to the NPA head office in Pretoria to serve as a special adviser to Simelane.
DA justice spokesperson Dene Smuts said in spite of Radebe's assurances, the staff of the SCCU had been assigned to provincial directorates of prosecution and the unit, with its success rate of 93,7percent at last count, was no longer functioning.
NPA spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke said she could not comment on the changes at the commercial crimes unit. - Sapa