/ 7 November 2012

Parliament concerned over lack of new NPA head

Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe was absent from the parliamentary justice committee's meeting.
Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe was absent from the parliamentary justice committee's meeting.

The NPA has been under an acting head, Nomgcobo Jiba, since December 2011.

On Wednesday, chairperson of the parliamentary justice committee, Lluwellyn Landers (ANC) told Parliament that criminals like Radovan Krejcir, Andrew Phillips and Glenn Agliotti got away because there is no national director of public prosecutions (NDPP).

"The justice committee is concerned at the length of time it is taking to appoint the NDPP  … will deputy minister [Andries Nel] agree that the outcomes of the cases again Krejcir, Andrew Phillips and Dave King, together with the abuse of the plea bargain system that resulted in self-confessed murderers, hit men and drug kingpins such as Glenn Agliotti among others going free are clear indication that the NPA is in desperate need of the NDPP to remove any perception that the NPA is rudderless and in crisis?" asked Landers.

But Nel wouldn't hear any of it.

He responded that while the position of the NDPP was "no doubt a very important position", he added that in the structure of the NPA, there are four national deputy directors of prosecution, nine provincial directors and 3 028 prosecutors.

"The NPA doesn't consist of the NDPP and the NDPP alone. Secondly, I think that advocate Jiba, as acting NDPP has been conducting the affairs of the NPA strictly in terms of the Constitution and the law."

Nel added that the NPA was far from being in crisis and in fact was making valuable contribution to the fight against crime and corruption.

Earlier, Democratic Alliance spokesperson on justice issues Dene Smuts asked Nel, who was responding on behalf of an absent Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, whether Radebe in recommending the next NDPP would take into consideration their recommendations.

"If the president should consult Radebe, on a choice candidate whose CV or work history contained unresolved disciplinary issues, will the minister once again ignore such issues.

"I refer to the fact that he rejected the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) recommendation in April 2009, when the view of the PSC was solicited by the then justice minister, Enver Surty, that Menzi Simelane should be subjected to a disciplinary inquiry following his performance at the Ginwala inquiry, the minister rejected that recommendation."

Smuts also cited the abandonment of disciplinary proceedings against Jiba before her appointment as acting deputy NDPP.

"The honourable minister seems to approve of prosecuting heads with disciplinary clouds hanging over their heads," she added.

Jiba has been acting NDPP since December 2011, when the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that Simelane’s appointment was "inconsistent" with the Constitution and invalid, as President Jacob Zuma had not applied his mind in the decision.

Last month, the Constitutional Court ruled that Simelane's appointment to the position of NDPP was invalid.

Nel told Parliament that Radebe has not received a request for advice from Zuma on the appointment of a new head of the NPA.