President Jacob Zuma says he hasn’t had the time to appoint a permanent head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) because “there have been significant real crises such as at Mangaung”.
In his affidavit before the Constitutional Court, Zuma for the first time admits that there was a “crisis” at Mangaung.
Zuma retained the presidency of the ANC at the conference, beating his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, by pulling more than 70% of the votes.
Zuma made the statement in an affidavit he filed with the Constitutional Court yesterday in response to an application by the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac).
Casac is asking the court to order Zuma to appoint a permanent national director of public prosecutions.
Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba has been acting in this position since December 2011, when the Supreme Court of Appeal declared the appointment of former NPA head Menzi Simelane irregular.
In his affidavit, Zuma confirmed that he would appoint a permanent NDPP (national director of public prosecutions) by the end of August “if not sooner”.
He further denies that the NPA was in crisis and calls much of Casac’s arguments “vexatious”.
Zuma denies dragging his feet with the appointment of an NDPP. “It will have been 10 months at the end of August when I appoint the new NDPP (if I do not make an appointment before then). In the greater scheme of things this cannot be said to be an inordinate delay,” his affidavit reads.
Zuma says the appointment of an NPA head was in its “final stage of due process”.
He denies acting improperly by not appointing an NDPP, saying “sometimes matters simply take longer than anticipated to finalise”.
The president stated: “When dealing with an office as important as that of the NDPP, it is important that the necessary time be taken to get it right. Moreover, there have been significant real crises such as at Mangaung that upset time tables.”
Zuma states that he could not explain fully what he had done to appoint an NDPP as this would reveal the identities of all the candidates he had considered “at various stages and why I then decided not to appoint certain persons”.
City Press previously reported that Zuma was considering appointing Pinetown Regional Court Magistrate Stanley Gumede to the position.
But Gumede’s appointment was hampered by pending cases against him before the Magistrate’s Commission.
Today, Casac spokesperson Lawson Naidoo welcomed Zuma’s commitment to appointing a permanent head of the NPA by the end of August.
“We trust that the president will now appoint a fit and proper person as the NDPP before the end of August. The National Prosecuting Authority is a critical component of the criminal justice system in South Africa whose independence needs to be bolstered to restore public confidence in its ability to exercise its functions without fear, favour or prejudice,” said Naidoo.
– City Press
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