14 August 2018

South Africa: In Choosing the Next NPA Boss, Ramaphosa Must Navigate Carefully


President Ramaphosa at the National Women's Day Celebrations in Mbekweni, Paarl, in the Western Cape Province. South Africa. 09/08/18. Siyabulela Duda

On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa was finally gifted the one thing he has probably wanted the most, ever since he ascended to power at the Union Buildings: a free hand to appoint a new National Director of Public Prosecutions. He now has to comply with Monday's ruling by the Constitutional Court that such an appointment must be made within 90 days. It is Ramaphosa's chance, at the very least, to remove an entire swath of the Zuma's senior appointees. It is also a chance for the entire country: depending on Ramaphosa's decision, we could have a properly neutral, effective and efficient NPA for the first time in our history.

There are several elements to Ramaphosa's decision in appointing a new National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) that will make it a complicated choice. Just those elements alone reveal how politicised the NPA has become, and how difficult it will be to make it properly neutral.

The last time we had a new president in office with the freedom to appoint a new head to the NPA was in 2009....

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