The National Prosecuting Authority has announced it has suspended the Aspirant Prosecutor Programme amid budget cuts from the government.
The NPA has upset scores of young aspirant prosecutors, who were recently issued with a 400-page study guide ahead of a selection test for the now-cancelled programme.
NPA spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke said the 12-month programme, which was responsible for providing inservice training to law graduates and which would assist them in gaining practical prosecutorial experience, was being suspended for the 2024 intake due to budget constraints.
Closing dates for applying for the programme was a mere two weeks ago.
The programme was a vehicle that allowed and enabled competent candidates to be appointed to entry-level prosecutorial positions in the NPA. The NPA said the programme helped ensure that qualified prosecutors provided additional prosecutorial capacity in the lower courts.
"Due to ongoing and government-wide budget constraints, the NPA has been forced to suspend the 2024 intake of aspirant prosecutors.
"We apologise to all applicants, and we appreciate your interest in the NPA. This is indeed a very disappointing development that is beyond our control.
"We will continue to explore all possibilities so that the programme can be resuscitated as soon as possible," said Makeke.
The NPA had advertised posts for the programme, with salary scales ranging from R228 915 – R264 891 per annum for the yearly programme.
The closing date for applications was August 15, 2023, with posts advertised on jobzines and government portals.
The programme was part of the NPA Youth Employment initiative, with a strict selection process for appointments only for young people up to the age of 35.
Young people expressed disappointment, on Friday, some describing the decision as reckless, unacceptable, and dream-crushing.
South Africa is such a discouraging place to be as a young person! I’m literally BEGGING for the youth to VOTE next year! This is NOT it! https://t.co/H77j4rhQFi— Stan Acc. (@kamostan) September 1, 2023
This is ridiculous! Already we have a extremely low and poor prosecution rate for gang and other serious violence and now you cutting this programme!— Ricardo Mackenzie MPL🇿🇦 (@ricardomackenzi) September 1, 2023
Criminals laughing and celebrating the collapse of our justice system! 😡 https://t.co/pafk2hyQnc
Bathong...after you published a 400+ page study guide and advised applicants to study it before they even knew if they would be invited to write? I would be mad. https://t.co/EcckmE5gk1— Ms Mathebula 💕 (@MsMathebula_) September 1, 2023
This is reckless. You could not foresee all this before?— BKI Speaks. (@BkiThebe) September 1, 2023
This is not acceptable.— Mandisa (@MandisaM9) September 1, 2023
What about the applicants who you told to prepare for the entrance test & have been studying the 463 page study guide you gave them ?— Leda (@S5E06) September 1, 2023
This program has been put on hold forever now while tenders get doled out to chommies.— Odirile Tlhoaele (@TlhoaeleOdirile) September 1, 2023
This is not it…— Sasa ⚖️ (@mosa_dimpane) September 1, 2023
Just when we were just waiting for dates and the venue to write the exam 💔