Gerrie Nel: Impossible to link politics to private prosecution

2017-05-12 12:59
Gerrie Nel (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24

Gerrie Nel (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


FULL INTERVIEW: Nel talks AfriForum, NPA and wrestling with News24

2017-02-03 10:59

Speaking to News24, former NPA advocate defended his decision to join controversial lobby group Afriforum, his appreciation for NPA litigators and wrestling.WATCH

Cape Town - "It is impossible to link political motives to private prosecution, because the basic principle of justice is that everyone is equal in terms of the law. "

This is according to Advocate Gerrie Nel, who heads AfriForum’s private prosecutions unit.

He addressed the Cape Town Business Chamber on Thursday, Netwerk24 reported.

Nel was the former State prosecutor and resigned in February after 35 years with the National Prosecuting Authority, during which time he successfully prosecuted athlete Oscar Pistorius for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Nel explained how he was initially sceptical about private prosecutions. Like a typical lawyer, he'd thought it wouldn’t work.

"Everyone who practises law in South Africa is conservative. So if there is something new, people balk at it. I received a call from AfriForum's Kallie Kriel and then started mulling over the concept. I knew it was necessary, I just didn’t think it could work," Nel said.

He then read about a private prosecution involving the SPCA.


"I realised it was necessary, and the time was ripe for it. I started getting excited. You get excited about something like this and feel it has to happen.

"I am a normal prosecutor and then came the media storm. Initially the response was all negative, with people reading some kind of motive into it. And because it was AfriForum, they believed there was a political motive. As they started understanding more about it, their negative perceptions started changing.

"I say it is impossible to link politics to private prosecution. The NPA has the first option to prosecute. If you can prove me wrong, please do so," Nel said.

He explained that if the NPA decided not to prosecute and AfriForum was of the opinion that there was a case to be made, they it could approach the NPA and apply for a nolle prosequi certificate.

The certificate allows anyone to prosecute in his or her own name. 

Criminal justice system strong

Nel believes the country’s criminal justice system remains strong and that the independence of the judiciary is being promoted.

"I remember how many times I drove to the Appeals Court Bloemfontein... and there are clever men and women in that building. The law is a process, not a case. We must see it in that light.

"We initially worried about Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, but now we have to admit that he is an incredible judge," said Nel.

Read more on:    afriforum  |  npa  |  gerrie nel  |  judiciary

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.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

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.