Zuma to oppose Casac's NPA fight

The President is opposing Casac's attempt to compel it to appoint a permanent NPA head.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma addresses the Commonwealth and South African Open Chess Championship 2013 at Boardwalk Hotel in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. South Africa.14/07/2013. Picture:GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Both the Presidency and the Ministry of Justice have filed notices with the court indicating their intention to oppose the application to force the appointment of a permanent head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Constitutional lobby group the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac)'s filed an urgent application in the constitutional court last month asking it to issue an order compelling the President to make an appointment.

It says their lawyers are now preparing responding papers which need to be filed by the end of next week.

The NPA has effectively been without a legally appointed permanent head since September 2007 when Vusi Pikoli was suspended.

Casac is arguing that Zuma's failure to permanently appoint a permanent National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) constitutes a failure to fulfill a constitutional obligation.

It's given the President 30 days to make the appointment.


Earlier this month, it emerged that Zuma may have to argue against himself if he formally opposes Casac's application.

Eyewitness News learnt Zuma himself said in a sworn affidavit that it is undesirable to not have a permanent head of the NPA as a temporary appointment can't be fully independent.

The statement is contained in Casac's legal papers.

During his legal fight with Pikoli, Zuma submitted papers under oath in which he said a temporary boss for the NPA wouldn't have the same independence as a permanent head.

He also said this was "undesirable" and that it was in the national interest for the position to be filled without any delay.

Nomgcobo Jiba has been acting NDPP for the past eight months.

She took over the post after the Constitutional Court ruled former NPA head Menzi Simelane's appointment was irregular.

In mid-June, the Democratic Alliance (DA) also threatened to take the President to court if he failed to fill the post before the end of July.

The opposition party says having an acting NPA head is undesirable because the independence of the position is undermined.

DA chairperson James Selfe said, "It is not only undesirable to have a long-standing temporary appointment, it is in fact unconstitutional."

The acting NDPP has been embroiled in an ongoing dispute with senior prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach.