NPA head announcement welcomed

2013-07-25 18:25

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma's intention to appoint a national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) was welcomed on Thursday by the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac).

"We trust the president will now appoint a fit and proper person as the NDPP before the end of August," Casac secretary Lawson Naidoo said in a statement.

"The National Prosecuting Authority [NPA] is a critical component of the criminal justice system in South Africa, whose independence needs to be bolstered to restore public confidence in its ability to exercise its functions without fear, favour or prejudice," he said.

Casac recently approached the Constitutional Court seeking an order that Zuma make the appointment within 30 days.

Naidoo said the organisation had written to Zuma before the application, on 31 May, asking him to make a commitment to hire a permanent head diligently and without delay, as required by the Constitution.

In the letter, it stated that if Zuma failed to appoint an NDPP within two weeks, Casac would consider approaching the court.

"It is regrettable that the president chose not to reply to this letter. Had he done so and made the commitment that he now has, we would have avoided the litigation that has ensued, Naidoo said."

Zuma filed his answering affidavit in the court on Wednesday.

According to Casac, the affidavit reads: "I wish to state that I have been considering various candidates for the position of NDPP and, all things being equal and unless some unforeseen event occurs, I will appoint a permanent NDPP by the end of August 2013, if not sooner.

"I give such undertaking to this court in recognition of the presidential obligations under the Constitution."

The NPA has been without a permanent chief since November 2011, after Menzi Simelane's appointment was declared invalid.