'I can assure the panel I am very independent' – advocate Mapoma says during NDPP interview

2018-11-14 16:25
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Advocate Siyabulela Mapoma, who is vying for the position of National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), has assured the panel tasked with recommending prospective candidates to President Cyril Ramaphosa that he is an independent man.

Mapoma was the second candidate to be interviewed on Wednesday after acting NDPP Silas Ramaite.

"I can assure the panel that I am very independent and don't owe anyone… I might have traffic tickets somewhere," Mapoma said when asked if anything could compromise him in the position of National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head. 

Mapoma, who was nominated to become the next NDPP, said he had not lost confidence in the institution, otherwise he would not have made himself available for the interview. 

LIVE: 'I have proved to be a woman of integrity' - first female candidate in #NDPPInterviews

Unlike Ramaite, who fumbled and faltered during his interview, Mapoma appeared confident before the panel, saying that he would not be a lawyer if he dealt with perceptions.

"I am a lawyer. I deal with facts," he said.

Mapoma told the panel that whoever gets appointed to the NPA top job should be someone who acts without fear or favour.

"You strike me as a firm person," a panellist told Mapoma. However, the panel expressed concern about Mapoma's lack of experience and appearance in the Constitutional Court and that he has only appeared once, as a junior, in the Supreme Court of Appeal.  

Mapoma confidently said this would not limit his ability to lead the prosecuting authority.

Mapoma has a LLB from the University of Transkei and a LLM from Unisa. He was a public prosecutor in Mthatha, Butterworth and Elliotdale before becoming a magistrate in the Elliotdale Magistrate's Court.

He told the panel that prosecutors needed assistance when it came to court starting on time, they also needed to be trained and given proper resources for the various types of crimes they dealt with.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, the panel interviewed Ramaite, who is the current acting head of the NPA following the removal of Shaun Abrahams.

The Constitutional Court found that Abrahams' appointment was unconstitutional and invalid.

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

READ: Acting NPA head Ramaite fumbles and falters during NDPP interview

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 into the NPA," one of the panel members told Ramaite after he failed to answer specific questions.

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

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