24 February 2013

South Africa: Lack of Permanent Appointments Continues to Hamper the Criminal Justice System

press release

In a media briefing today, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe failed to assure the South African public that key appointments throughout the criminal justice system will be made within a specified timeframe. The only position he committed to being filledby the President in the near future is that of Head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), which is to be welcomed, if indeed it materialises.

The DA calls on President Jacob Zuma to commit to a timeframe and ensure that these positions are filled by fit and proper people as soon as possible.

The following positions have been vacant for over six months:

Head of the SIU - 14 months

Head of the National Prosecuting Authority - 14 months

Head of the Crime Intelligence Unit - 9 months

Director-General of the State Security Agency - 15 months

Head of Domestic Intelligence - 18 months

Head of Foreign Intelligence - 12 months

Minister Radebe informed us today that the Head of the SIU will be appointed by the end of February. This comes after 14 months with Adv. Nomvula Mokhatla at the helm. Her tenure has seen the return of the controversial Ms Miseria Nyathi, who is effectively in charge of the SIU, as well as a number of resignations and additional vacancies.

If the Minister and President are serious about fighting crime and corruption in our country, we would have expected the Minister to announce that all these positions will be filled within specified timeframes in the very near future.

It is little wonder our criminal justice system is failing if key appointments remain empty and those who act in these positions fail to do their jobs.

The President and the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster must stop telling us that these positions will be filled, and then fail to tell us when.

It is vital that the positions be filled as soon as possible by capable individuals. Without strong leadership the system will continue to fail South Africans.

Debbie Schafer, Shadow Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development

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