13 November 2018

South Africa: NDPP Interviews to Be Open to the Media

Photo: SABC Digital News/YouTube
Glynnis Breytenbach

The interviews for the new National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) will be open to the media.

In handing down his ruling on Tuesday, judge J.W Louw said the office of the NDPP is required to be independent and should be seen to be independent.

He said it is a matter of public knowledge that the office of the NDPP is plagued by instability.

"The process directed by the President is a big improvement. The President has not given reasons why it should be closed to the public," said Louw

"The process should be open and transparent. It is of importance that confidence is restored in the office of the NDPP," he added.

Twelve people short-listed for the vacant NDPP position were expected to be interviewed on Wednesday. That process will now be delayed while a bigger venue is found to accommodate the media.

NGO Right2Know decided to approach the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria after the presidency revealed that the interviews would not be open to the media.

R2K wanted President Cyril Ramaphosa to allow 20 "accredited members of the media" to attend the interviews and to report on them.

Advocate Ben Winks earlier told the high court it was the president's right to appoint any person he seems fit to lead the NPA, but that a precedent had been set when the interviews for the position of Public Protector were open to the media.

"He decided the close the interview at least to the media. He violates the press. The presidency is called upon to justify why closing it to the media. What mischief will the media cause if they are allowed to attend?" Winks asked.

Representing the Presidency, Advocate Gcina Malindi argued that the matter was not urgent.

Malindi said it took the applicant three and a half days to bring an application after the notice was issued and if it had brought on time, the matter would have been heard on time.

In its court papers, the Presidency also said the interviewing panel needed to be able to engage in "detailed debate on sensitive NPA matters and investigations".

The 12 people on the shortlist are:

  • South Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions Andrew Chauke;
  • Glynnis Breytenbach, a career prosecutor who was a member of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit who also dealt with high-profile cases;
  • Andrea Johnson - who was advocate Gerrie Nel's co-prosecutor in the State's case against convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius;
  • Adv Silas Ramaite;
  • Advocate Moipone Noko, Director of Public Prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal;
  • Advocate M Makhari;
  • Advocate Rodney de Kock, Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions;
  • Pietermaritzburg advocate Simphiwe Mlotshwa;
  • Former magistrate-turned-advocate Naomi Manaka;
  • Siyabulela Xhanti Mapoma;
  • Advocate Shamila Batohi, who was the lead prosecutor on the King Commission of Inquiry into match-fixing involving former Proteas captain Hansie Cronje;
  • and Advocate Matric Luphondo.

Source: News24

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