Tshwane - The interviewing process of candidates shortlisted to be the next National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) has started at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Following a precedent-setting ruling by the high court, these interviews for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss will be open to members of the media, for the first time.
The interviews are set to run for three days, until Friday.
Before 10 am, journalists from different media houses were ushered into a boardroom inside the Union Buildings, to set up equipment.
On Tuesday, the Presidency said the interviews to be conducted by the advisory panel led by Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe would be open to "20 media representatives, in line with a court order to this effect".
Last month, Ramaphosa invited a number of legal organisations and independent public institutions to help him identify and select individuals for consideration as possible candidates for the NDPP position.
The panel, chaired by Radebe, was requested to identify potential candidates, establish that they meet the required criteria, conduct interviews with potential candidates, and recommend at least three candidates to the president.
While the panel would make recommendations, the Constitution prescribed that ultimately only the president could appoint the NDPP.
The organisations invited to provide a representative were the General Council of the Bar of South Africa; the Law Society of South Africa; the Black Lawyers Association; the National Association of Democratic Lawyers; Advocates for Transformation; the Auditor General of South Africa; and the South African Human Rights Commission.
The panel was tasked to complete its work and make recommendations to the president to enable him to meet the deadline set by the Constitutional Court to appoint a new NDPP within 90 court days from August 13.
Last week, the Presidency confirmed the leaked shortlist of candidates who will be vying for the position of NDPP.
The list included acting NPA boss Silas Ramaite, a former prosecutor turned opposition member of Parliament (MP) Glynnis Breytenbach, Gauteng South director of public prosecutions (DPP) Andrew Chauke, and his KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape counterparts, Moipone Noko and Rodney de Kock, respectively.
DA MP Breytenbach has since withdrawn her name from the race.
The other candidates, according to the Presidency, are:
- Advocate Shamila Batohi, a former KwaZulu-Natal DPP who later worked as a senior legal advisor to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague;
- Advocate Andrea Johnson, one of the prosecutors in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial;
- Advocate Matric Luphondo, chief prosecutor of the NPA's Pretoria cluster;
- Advocate Naomi Manaka, who became an advocate after serving as a magistrate after several years;
- Advocate M Makhari;
- Advocate Simphiwe Mlotshwa, a former acting director of public prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal, who was replaced with Noko in 2012, allegedly for refusing to stop the prosecution of two politicians in the province; and
- Mr S.X. Mapoma.
The NDPP position became vacant in August when the Constitutional Court declared the appointment of the then NDPP Shaun Abrahams invalid.
African News Agency/ANA