Who will be the new NPA boss? Here are our top picks for NDPP
This week a panel appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa interviewed candidates for the position of National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP). After listening to the candidates' interviews, here are our top three picks for the new boss of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
News24 editor-in-chief, Adriaan Basson:
Luphondo's energy and passion for his job are infectious. He is a straight shooter with no scandals in his background. His lack of high court experience may hamper his chances, but he is without doubt a future star in the NPA.
Johnson is a born prosecutor and clearly deeply committed to her job. The way in which she handled tough questions about the Jackie Selebi prosecution showed her mettle to deal with difficult situations. Her appointment would inspire other career prosecutors, particularly women, that loyalty, hard work and dedication pay off.
The NPA is in dire need of inspirational leadership and Batohi may be what the doctor ordered. She had a dream interview and spoke of the higher cause of the organisation and the need to regain the public's trust. She comes with gravitas after spending almost a decade at the International Criminal Court, but must guard against being seen as an "outsider" with all the answers to the NPA's many ills.
News24 specialist reporter, Mandy Wiener:
Adv Siyabulela Mapoma
Mapoma impressed with his dedication to the Constitution and his commitment to acting independently without fear or favour. He came across as firm and authoratitive and has a gravitas required for the position of NDPP. Although he has experience as a senior prosecutor, a magistrate and in private practice, there are concerns that Mapoma has not appeared before the Constitutional Court and that he has done little criminal work.
Adv Andrea Johnson
Johnson was evidently the people's favourite, particularly after a clip of her speaking in Zulu, asking the panel where the women representatives were, was shared widely on social media. Her interview was the longest of the candidates as she was grilled about the decision to grant immunity to killers and drug dealers in the Jackie Selebi investigation. She was feisty and impassioned, standing her ground. She says it like it is and that seemed to resonate.
Adv Shamila Batohi
It seemed as though the panel left the best for last and were clearly enamoured with Batohi as they gave her somewhat of an easy ride. Batohi has impeccable credentials and her recent stint at the International Criminal Court has provided her with a worldliness and perspective required for the top job. It's also a plus that she is an insider that knows the NPA but has not been around for the factional infighting of the past decade. A racism allegation (that she was cleared of) hangs like an albatross around her neck.
News24 legal reporter, Jeanette Chabalala:
Adv Simphiwe Mlotshwa
Mlotshwa, who resigned from the NPA in 2015, made a strong case that he is credible candidate for the job. He told the panel how suspended deputy prosections boss Nomgcobo Jiba interfered in the high-profile 'Amigos' corruption case and later removed him from his post to protect politicians. He has a strong track record in the NPA.
Adv Andrea Johnson
Johnson, who was part of the teams that prosecuted former police chief Jackie Selebi and Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, told the panel she will not allow any president to influence her if she is appointed NDPP. She had harsh criticism for the current state of the NPA, saying even if the pope was appointed as NDPP, it would not be enough.
Batohi, the final candidate to be interviewed for the positio on Friday, described the office of the NPA) as a house on fire. She has been a senior legal adviser to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court since 2009. She was the first woman to be appointed as a director of public prosecutions when she took up the job in 2009 in KwaZulu-Natal.