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Time running out for Zuma

President Zuma promised the Constitutional Court he would make an appointment before September.

Last month Jacob Zuma promised the Constitutional Court he would make an appointment by end of August.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's legal fraternity and victims of crime are waiting to see whether President Jacob Zuma will appoint a new head to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) by his own deadline of Friday.

Last month, Zuma promised the Constitutional Court he would make an appointment by the end of August, after leaving the post vacant for almost a year.

It's been claimed Zuma wants to appoint Magistrate Stanley Gumede who has outstanding complaints against him at the Magistrates Commission.

Zuma's previous appointment of Menzi Simelane was struck down by the Constitutional Court.

Nomgcobo Jiba has since been acting as National Director of Public Prosecutions, but has indicated she does not want the job on a permanent basis.

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution's (Casac) Lawson Naidoo says if Zuma doesn't live up to his promise, they'll ask judges to force him to fulfil his earlier agreement.

"We will go to court to seek the order that we initially thought which is for the court to order the person to make the appointment within the fixed timeframe."

The Democratic Alliance's shadow Justice Minister Dene Smuts says this entire episode shows the law needs to change.

"It seems necessary to take the power of appointment out the hands of the President. We can put it directly into the hands of Parliament through a multi-party committee."

She reiterated the party's promise to challenge any decision to appoint Gumede to the post.

NPA HEAD MUST HAVE NO SCANDALS

Meanwhile, Organisations Advocates for Transformation and Lawyers for Human Rights, have stressed the importance of the new NPA head being scandal free.

Chairperson Dumisa Ntsebeza said it would be an error of judgment for someone with an outstanding complaint against them to be appointed.

"It is important that a person is not only independent, but is seen to be independent."

Jacob van Garderen, National Director of Lawyers for Human Rights said it's very important that the person is seen to be scandal free.

Corruption Watch Chief David Lewis echoed these sentiments.

Zuma's previous appointment of Menzi Simelane was struck down by the Constitutional Court.

Nomgcobo Jiba has since been acting as National Director of Public Prosecutions, but has indicated she does not want the job on a permanent basis.

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