Silas Ramaite underwhelms at NDPP interviews

Acting national director of public prosecutions Silas Ramaite delivered a less than stellar performance during an interview for the top job at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Wednesday marked the first day of interviews at Union Buildings in Pretoria, where five candidates are scheduled to be interviewed. Ramaite — who was the first candidate to be interviewed by an advisory panel — has been at the NPA for at least 15 years.

He had to be asked on several occasions and by various panellists to answer questions put to him “directly”.

“You are not answering questions directly. We want to know what’s happening at the NPA, what’s your role,” Energy Minister Jeff Radebe, who is chairing the panel, chided Ramaite.

“You have deprived us from getting insights,” Auditor General Kimi Makwetu, also a panellist, said.


READ MORE: Breytenbach withdraws as Maimane calls for NPA head who is ‘above party politics’

Ramaite appeared unable to satisfy the panel as he was grilled on the NPA’s stability and actions he had taken in previous years during his long tenure at the NPA.

When asked if there had been any interference in prosecutorial decisions, Ramaite responded: “Not that I am personally aware.”

Radebe interjected at this point, saying Ramaite has a responsibility to know what happens in the NPA because he has been there “for many years”.

Ramaite credited the instability which has plagued the institution as being a result of former National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Mxolisi Nxasana’s departure from the organisation. The role of NDPP is perceived as a tenuous position to hold: not one official appointed to the post has ever served the full 10-year term.

Ramaite and another candidate for the position — Advocate Siyabulela Mapoma — were asked about their independence and if it could be compromised. Both answered no. 

It appears, however, that the panel — in addressing concerns of interference raised in the case of former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli and the Ginwala Commission of Inquiry — are focusing on issues of prosecutorial independence.

Mapoma, who has experience as a prosecutor, a magistrate, and hails from the corporate sector — but has not worked in the NPA for the past 10 years.

Mapoma was questioned on his experience — he has never appeared before the Constitutional Court and appeared once before the Supreme Court of Appeal as a junior advocate.

READ MORE: High court orders NDPP interviews open to media

He denied that the NPA is in a dire state, saying there are prosecutors who work hard and that only certain parts of the authority are facing issues of factionalism. Mapoma continued, saying perceptions the NPA is struggling are created primarily by media reports that have misled the public.

A total of eleven candidates have been shortlisted. The interviews continue at Union Buildings. 

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.

Related stories

Durban city manager says NPA erred in his bail conditions

The corruption-fraught metro is coming to grips with having a municipal manager who is on bail for graft, yet has returned to work

Hawks swoop down with more arrests in R1.4-billion corruption blitz

The spate of arrests for corruption continues apace in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Marikana murder trial resumes

The eight-year battle for justice played out its next round in the Mahikeng high court this week

Why crooks are shivering in their boots

Ace Magashule’s anxiety has to do with the array of arrests of high-profile people facing fraud and corruption charges

How graft arrests came together

Learning from its failure to turn the Schabir Shaik conviction into one for Jacob Zuma, the state is now building an effective system for catching thieves. Khaya Koko, Sabelo Skiti and Paddy Harper take a look behind the scenes at how law enforcement agencies have started creating consequences for the corrupt

‘Haunted’ VBS executive Truter sentenced to seven years

Phillip Truter, the former chief financial officer of the defunct mutual bank who pleaded guilty to fraud and other charges, will work with authorities on how the alleged heist took place
Advertising

Subscribers only

The shame of 40 000 missing education certificates

Graduates are being left in the lurch by a higher education department that is simply unable to deliver the crucial certificates proving their qualifications - in some cases dating back to 1992

The living nightmare of environmental activists who protest mine expansion

Last week Fikile Ntshangase was gunned down as activists fight mining company Tendele’s expansions. Community members tell the M&G about the ‘kill lists’ and the dread they live with every day

More top stories

Fifteen witnesses for vice-chancellor probe

Sefako Makgatho University vice-chancellor Professor Peter Mbati had interdicted parliament last month from continuing with the inquiry

Constitutional Court ruling on restructuring dispute is good for employers

A judgment from the apex court empowers employers to change their workers’ contracts — without consultation

Audi Q8: Perfectly cool

The Audi Q8 is designed to be the king in the elite SUV class. But is it a victim of its own success?

KZN officials cash in on ‘danger pay for Covid-19’

Leadership failures at Umdoni local municipality in KwaZulu-Natal have caused a ‘very unhappy’ ANC PEC to fire the mayor and chief whip
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday