President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Advocate Hermione Cronje as head of the new Investigating Directorate at the NPA. This unit will be located in the office of Shamila Batohi, the national director of public prosecutions.
The establishment of the unit was announced in the state of the nation address in February. The Investigating Directorate is tasked with investigating common law offences including fraud, forgery, uttering, theft and any offence involving dishonesty.
Cronje's appointment is for a term of five years.
She has been on retainer for the past two months, assisting Batohi to set up the structure of the new directorate and to panel beat the legislation and terms of reference that will govern the scope of its work. It's understood Batohi personally requested that Cronje come on secondment from the bar to assist with this important project.
When contacted by News24 last month, Cronje would not say whether she had been asked to be the director but confirmed that she has been involved with the setup.
Cronje does have the requisite experience to do the job. Prior to joining the bar six years ago, she spent 12 years prosecuting cases as part of the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) under Willie Hofmeyr. Hofmeyr has recently been reappointed head of the AFU. Cronje headed up the Cape division of the AFU and was one of the first members of the NPA.
Currently acting as caretaker of all 'state capture' cases arising from the Zondo Commission and also co-ordinating all organised crime cases, is advocate Andrea Johnson.
Cronje has a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government and a BA and LLB from the University of Cape Town. She worked in the NPA until 2012 and went into private practice after that.