In a statement reacting to the news that the acting national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) will be Dr Silas Ramaite, the DA’s shadow minister of justice Glynnis Breytenbach, a former prosecutor with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), was unimpressed.
Ramaite will fill the role until President Cyril Ramaphosa announces a permanent replacement for the job left vacant by Shaun Abrahams yesterday.
Ramaite has been a deputy national director of public prosecutions since 2003.
Breytenbach said he, however, had a chequered history, having “in the past defended the decision of former NDPP Bulelani Ngcuka to not institute corruption charges against former president Jacob Zuma in the infamous ‘Spy Tapes’ saga”.
“He even went so far as to acknowledge his own co-responsibility on the issue, stating in 2004 that ‘We had made the decision as a collective in the NPA and we stand by it’ and that ‘It was not as if Bulelani sat there in the office and took decisions alone.’
“He has sat idly by while successive NDPPs and acting NDPPs, including Mokotedi Mpshe, Menzi Simelane, Nomgcobo Jiba and Shaun Abrahams, systematically destroyed the fabric of the NPA and South Africa’s criminal justice system. His track record proves that, at best, he is weak, vacillating and pliable.
“President Ramaphosa must urgently appoint a new permanent NDPP, and it is our belief that he should involve Parliament in the selection process.
“Under the ANC, the NPA and other key institutions who charged with combating priority crimes like corruption, have been reduced to mere puppets who serve at the pleasure of the ANC mafia. Over the past decade, they have often been tasked with carrying out political hits rather than being allowed to carry out investigations and prosecutions without fear or favour.”
The ANC earlier today praised Ramaite’s selection by Ramaphosa, however.
“This prompt and resolute action will go some way in ensuring that the nation regains confidence in this institution that is extremely critical to the integrity, stability and effectiveness of the criminal justice system,” the ruling party said in a statement.