The Special Investigative Unit (SIU) is turning up the heat on the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), demanding answers about all the cases it has failed to prosecute since 2007.
The cases include a damning investigation into facilities management company Bosasa, the SIU has confirmed.
In 2009, the SIU referred a report on four tenders awarded to Bosasa by the Department of Correctional Services, worth more than R1.5bn, to the NPA.
The report found that Bosasa had bribed former prisons boss Linda Mti and the department's chief financial officer Patrick Gillingham to win the tenders but, nearly a decade later, the NPA has still not taken any action.
Last year, the NPA confirmed to News24 that a new team of advocates had been appointed and the matter was now at an advanced stage.
Following a report by News24, published in City Press on Sunday, that detailed how top ANC MP Vincent Smith received cash and gifts from Bosasa amounting to at least R800 000 in the past three years, the SIU is looking to engage with the NPA on numerous cases it referred for prosecution that have been left to gather dust.
Bosasa, which changed its name last year to African Global Operations, has won tenders worth more than R10bn from Airports Company SA - as well as the correctional services, home affairs and social development departments - since 2003.
SIU head Andy Mothibi has demanded a discussion with the NPA about the criminal cases which had been referred to it, but where it had failed to take action. News24 understands that there could be as many as 463 criminal cases.
Mothibi said in a statement that they had referred "many cases" to the NPA, some as far back as 2007, but that there had been no prosecutions to date.
"Leaving so many criminal cases, referred to the NPA by the SIU, hanging for [such a] long period is unsound and goes against the grain of good governance," Mothibi said.
"It is absolutely critical to revisit all these outstanding cases which the SIU referred for prosecution to the NPA," he added.
'Cure the defects'
SIU investigators and lawyers had spent an "inordinate amount of time" working with forensic specialist investigators, he said, adding that when their work yielded no prosecutorial results they were left demoralised.
Mothibi also raised concerns about the money spent on investigating the cases.
"Financial resources from the state purse are also disbursed during these investigations, for them not to be seen to their logical end… which is a corrupt-free South Africa," he said.
Mothibi said he wanted the SIU and NPA to work together on all the cases, "to cure the defects, if any, which enabled the NPA to make a decision to either prosecute or decline to do so".
He said there had to be feedback on all cases to avoid suspicion from the public, and added that both institutions had to give meaning to the constitutional dictate that "all are equal before the law".
"Citizens are bound to look at us in the criminal justice system askance where we omit to account to them on the outcomes of the investigations we did in the past and continue to do without any tangible prosecutorial results," he said.
He added that he wanted the SIU team to have a collaborative working relationship with the NPA.