NDPP hopeful Andrea Johnson believes not even the pope can save the NPA

2018-11-15 13:29
Advocate Andrea Johnson is seen in the High Court. (Herman Verwey, Gallo Images, Foto24, file)

Advocate Andrea Johnson is seen in the High Court. (Herman Verwey, Gallo Images, Foto24, file)

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Advocate Andrea Johnson, who was part of the teams that prosecuted former police chief Jackie Selebi and Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, says she will not allow any president to influence her if she is appointed National Director of Public Prosecutions.

Johnson, the second female candidate to be interviewed, was the first to be questioned on the second day of interviews for the National Prosecuting Authority's top job.

LIVE: 'I trust you will do right by the Constitution, public' - #NDPPInterviews candidate tells panel

She spent more than two hours trying to convince the panel why she was the right woman for the job. 

Johnson started off her interview by telling the panel what kind of a leader she was and how she would approach different scenarios if she was the NDPP. However, things quickly took a turn when she was asked about instability within the NPA.

"Even if you appoint the pope as the NDPP, it won't be enough. That office will chew the pope up and spit him out alive, that's how bad the situation is," she told the panel.

Interference

A panellist referred to the Jackie Selebi prosecution, saying there were many people involved, including drug lords, but that she went on to prosecute Selebi alone. When she took Selebi to court, she was not interested in anyone else, the panellist said.

But Johnson defended her decision, adding that Menzi Simelane unduly interfered. Simelane was the head of NPA at the time.

Johnson said they had serious issues with him as the NDPP, in terms of not understanding what they wanted to prosecute. 

Asked if former president Thabo Mbeki was "involved" in some way in the Selebi case, Johnson said: "Most correctly so."

In 2015, shortly after Selebi's death, Mbeki questioned the NPA's investigation and prosecution of the former police chief.

It was alleged that Mbeki suspended former NPA boss Vusi Pikoli to stop him from charging Selebi. Mbeki denied this claim several times.

She added: "I guarantee you that should I be afforded the opportunity to be NPA head, no president would unduly influence my work."

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