Cyril weighs up NDPP candidate list

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

President Cyril Ramaphosa has four weeks to consider five advocates nominated for the national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) post.

The advisory panel tasked with making recommendations on suitable candidates for the position has presented him with names of advocates Shamila Batohi, largely tipped as a favourite for the post, Siyabulela Mapoma, Simphiwe Mlotshwa, Rodney de Kock and Andrea Johnson.

The position became vacant after former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams' appointment was found to be constitutionally invalid by the Constitutional Court in August.

Ramaphosa has until mid-December to make the appointment after the court gave him 90 days in August to appoint a new NDPP.

Sunday Times reported that Batohi, a legal adviser at the Hague-based International Criminal Court, was apparently the panel's favourite.

It reported that reliable information indicated that Batohi had ticked all the right boxes.

The five nominees were selected from 11 candidates who were interviewed at the Union Buildings in Pretoria from Wednesday, November 14, to Friday, November 16.

In October, Ramaphosa invited a number of legal organisations and public institutions to help him identify and select individuals for consideration as candidates for the position.

The position of national director of public prosecutions has seemingly become somewhat of a poisoned chalice, with many of the former holders of the post having left unceremoniously.

Former NPA heads Mxolisi Nxasana and Abrahams were not the only ones to see the intervention of the Constitutional Court pronounce on their futures as heads of the troubled organisation.

The court had also found the appointment of Menzi Simelane invalid in 2012.

Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusela Diko said he will study the recommendations and make an appointment by December 19, as directed by the Constitutional Court.

The selection panel comprised auditor-general Kimi Makwetu, Human Rights Commission's advocate Bongani Majola, advocate Jaap Cilliers from the General Council of the Bar of South Africa, Richard Scott from the Law Society of South Africa, Black Lawyers Association's Lutendo Sigogo, Lawrence Manye from Advocates for Transformation and Mvuzi Nyotesi from the National Association of Democratic Lawyers.

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