NPA damaging itself by withholding senior status for white advocates

2014-05-19 00:00

STATE advocates like Advocate Gerrie Nel have not in the past five years been recommended for promotion to senior counsel status (SC) by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The NPA stopped these recommendations after advocate Mokotedi Mpshe questioned the race and sex of candidates whose names were given to the Justice minister, while he was the acting head of the NPA in 2008.

The minister had to ratify the nominations and send them to the president. A letter sent to sister paper Beeld states that Mpshe wanted the SC nominations to meet certain race and sex requirements.

Senior status is normally awarded to experienced advocates who have practised for between 10 and 20 years and who are considered capable by their colleagues, magistrates and judges.

Advocate Billy Downer SC, the prosecutor in the corruption case against President Jacob Zuma and who also prosecuted Zuma’s personal financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, was one of the last state advocates to awarded senior status.

State advocates agree that several of their colleagues who deserve senior status include Nel, Advocate Dries van Rensburg, who prosecuted the Boere­mag members, Advocate Jan Ferreira, who charged Winnie Madikizela-Mandela with theft and fraud, Advocate George Baloyi, who prosecuted Eugene Terre’ Blanche’s murderers, and advocates Arno Rossouw and Dawid Broughton, who prosecuted in the Krion pyramid scheme. Their names are however not give to the Justice minister by the NPA. State advocates say that as a result, a very good advocate like Nel, who does not have to stand back for Barry Roux SC, his opponent in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, is seen as inferior.

In the private sector, SC status means higher fees, but this does not apply for state advocates.

“The NPA is damaging its own credibility because the perception is that only second-rate advocates work for the state,” a state advocate told Beeld.

Advocate Elivera du Plooy, chairperson of the Association of State Advocates, said the association had indicated to Mxolisi Nxasana, the new head of the NPA, that the nominations for senior status was one of the issues that had to get attention. The association had already prepared a proposal for Nxasana.

Du Plooy said not recognising senior counsel status among state advocates resulted in them not enjoying the same level of respect as their equals in the private sector.

The NPA did not react to inquiries.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.