Acting NPA head Ramaite fumbles and falters during NDPP interview

2018-11-14 12:03
Silas Ramaite. (City Press, file)

Silas Ramaite. (City Press, file)

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WATCH LIVE: Who will be the next NDPP?

2018-11-14 10:10

Shortlisted candidates for the position of National Director of Public Prosecutions will be interviewed at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Watch. WATCH

Acting National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Silas Ramaite has faced a tough morning of questions, trying to distance himself from previous problems and shortcomings at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in recent years.

Ramaite was the first candidate to be interviewed by a panel tasked with recommending prospective candidates to President Cyril Ramaphosa before he appoints a new NDPP.

LIVE: 'NPA should act without fear or favour' - second candidate answers to panel in #NDPPInterviews

Ramaite was appointed acting head of the NPA in August, following the removal of Shaun Abrahams. The Constitutional Court found that Abrahams's appointment was unconstitutional and invalid.

Ramaite faced several tough questions about his links to previous NPA leaders and what he did during the authority's troubled recent past.

He also struggled to answer many of the questions clearly, with one panellist noting that he did not create the impression that he was a decisive leader.

"You have deprived us of getting insights to the NPA," one of the panel members told Ramaite after he failed to answer specific questions.

Ramaite was also asked if he has fresh ideas to tackle the institution considering that he has been in the office of the NDPP. 

"The ideas are not fresh at all, they are already there," he said.

"For me (it is) the culture of being faithful to the constitution and the culture of being faithful to the rule of law," he said.

He also told the panel that: "There was little I could do as deputy national director."

READ: Glynnis Breytenbach pulls out of race for 'dream job' as NPA boss

Ramaite said that under his leadership - since being appointed in an acting capacity in August - there have been noted improvements at the NPA.

Ramaite is one of 11 candidates expected to be interviewed this week.

Former NPA prosecutor and current Democratic Alliance member, Glynnis Breytenbach, was among the 12 people placed on a shortlist for consideration, but she announced her withdrawal from the process late on Tuesday night.

Ramaite is a career prosecutor who had been a deputy director for 15 years, and was the NPA's deputy national director for administration and witness protection.

Earlier this month, City Press reported that a sex tape, allegedly showing Ramaite in a compromising position with a female security guard, was being used to pressure him into making leadership changes.

There was also speculation that the timing of the release of information on the tape suggested those behind the video may have wanted Ramaite to withdraw from the race for the NDPP job, or tarnish his image at the very least.

He declined to comment until he saw the video.

The Constitutional Court has given Ramaphosa until December 19 to appoint a new NDPP.

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