Zuma’s NPA, SIU appointments draw mixed reactions

2013-08-31 09:05

Reaction from political parties and civil society was mixed following the appointments of a new national director of public prosecutions (NDPP), new head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and new director of public prosecutions in the KwaZulu-Natal.

The appointments were announced by President Jacob Zuma yesterday.

Mxolisi Nxasana was the country’s new NDPP, with Vasantrai Soni named as the new head of the SIU.

Sophy Moipone Dinah Noko was the new director of public prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Democratic Alliance were pleased the positions had been filled, but had reservations over Noko’s appointment.

“We are pleased that the president has honoured his undertaking to the Constitutional Court that he would appoint by end August,” justice spokeswoman Dene Smuts said in a statement.

However, the DA were currently engaged in litigation emanating from Noko’s decision to withdraw charges against provincial legislature speaker Peggy Nyonyeni and Tourism MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu.

“The temporary withdrawal of charges against businessmen Toshan Panday and Navin Madhoe in a different matter are also of some concern,” she said.

Of Nxasana’s appointment, Smuts said he was a leader within the independent legal profession and suggested Nxasana may wish to review the withdrawal of charges against Nyonyeni, Mabuyakhulu, Panday and Madhoe with Noko as their first order of business.

The appointment of Soni as head of the SIU was noted, and with the unit in need of leadership, the DA trusted that he would restore its focus.

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) welcomed the appointments at the SIU and NDPP, especially Nxasana’s appointment.

“Nxasana brings with him relevant experience as a seasoned criminal law practitioner, and leadership experience,” the LSSA said in a statement.

Nxasana, a former president of the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society, had also served on the Criminal Law Committee of the LSSA, co-chairpersons Kathleen Matolo-Dlepu and David Bekker said.

“Our prosecution services are at the heart of the criminal justice system and carry the expectations for justice of the victims of crime, sadly often serious, violent crime and organised crime, in our society.”

They said the LSSA was confident Nxasana would bring the skill, conscientiousness, integrity and independence necessary for the head of the prosecution services to deal with matters fairly, efficiently and professionally.

“We offer the support of the attorneys’ profession to our colleague,” they said.

The Inkhata Freedom Party was pleased with appointments, stating Nxasana’s was long overdue.

“We also welcome the appointment of the head of the SIU, Vasantrai Soni and the appointment of the director of public prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal... Sophy Moipone Dinah Noko,” justice spokesman Velaphi Ndlovu said in a statement.

“We urge the new heads to remain unbiased and true to justice in every sense of the word when they take up their new appointments.”

The Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) welcomed the appointments, but questioned the manner in which Nxasana’s appointment was made.

“The manner of the appointment [of Nxasana] reveals a flaw in the selection process leading to such a critical appointment,” said executive secretary Lawson Naidoo in a statement.

The Casac called for a more transparent process when key appointments are made so the public was aware of the character of the appointee.

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