n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - An analysis of the role of the South African Asset Forfeiture Unit in the Special Investigating Unit

Volume 22, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) is one of the ten business units of the National Prosecuting Authority. The unit was established in 1999 to ensure the effective implementation of the asset forfeiture provisions contained in the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 121 of 1998. Chapter 5 of the Act provides for the forfeiture of assets from a person convicted of an offence, whilst Chapter 6 of the Act provides for a civil process that is not dependent on criminal prosecution for forfeiting assets that are the proceeds of crime, or have been involved in the commission of crime. For many people asset forfeiture simply means the reclaiming of what has been wrongfully gained by criminals - the state claiming the fruits of crime on behalf of society. The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is an independent statutory body that is accountable to Parliament and the President. The Unit was established in terms of the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996 to investigate corruption and maladministration in the public sector and to use civil procedure to recover losses and secure savings for the state. Its strength lies in its powers to act speedily to save, recover and protect public assets through the civil law procedure and litigate through a special tribunal. This article seeks to outline the roles played by the two agencies in order to indicate whether their existence is crucial.

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