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By Eric Naki

Political Editor


‘Take power to appoint prosecutions boss away from president’ – Cosatu

Cosatu wants the sole prerogative to appoint the head of the NDPP to be taken out of the hands of the president, and a new approach to be implemented. They believe this will prevent a recurrence of the troubles experienced in the NPA during the tenure of the former president.


Cosatu has asked for the appointment of the National Director of Public Prosecutions to no longer be the sole prerogative of the President, as a way to prevent the state capture allegedly fashioned by former President Jacob Zuma’s administration. The Congress of South African Trade Unions proposed an overhaul of the process to appoint the NDPP, asking for an additional clause be added on the Judicial Matters Amendment Bill to prevent the President of the Republic from being the sole appointer of the NDPP. In its submission to parliament's portfolio committee on justice and correctional services on the Recognition of…

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Cosatu has asked for the appointment of the National Director of Public Prosecutions to no longer be the sole prerogative of the President, as a way to prevent the state capture allegedly fashioned by former President Jacob Zuma’s administration.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions proposed an overhaul of the process to appoint the NDPP, asking for an additional clause be added on the Judicial Matters Amendment Bill to prevent the President of the Republic from being the sole appointer of the NDPP.

In its submission to parliament’s portfolio committee on justice and correctional services on the Recognition of Customary Marriages and Judicial Matters Amendment Bills in Parliament Tuesday, Cosatu said the abuses that took place during the era of state capture were beyond dispute.

“It is important to bear in mind that it is now a matter of judicial record that such abuses of authority took place under the direction of the former Head of State, and that state capture occurred at the highest levels of the National Prosecuting Authority,” said Cosatu parliamentary co-ordinator, Matthew Parks.

Parks said although there was nothing unsound in principle in the President having the executive authority to appoint the NDPP, in reality it was a serious flaw and extremely dangerous defect in the legislation.

“South Africa has only recently begun to emerge from a devastating era of state capture and abuse of executive privilege at the highest levels. The consequences of such abuses are the pending collapse of many State Owned Enterprises and other organs of the state, billions of Rands of taxes lost to corruption, a stagnant economy, increasing taxes and the possible retrenchment of thousands of public sector workers,” Parks said.

Cosatu said workers could not afford to return to an era of state capture or to see the collapse of the state and resultant retrenchments. He said the workers were angry at the lack of consequences for those who brought the state to the verge of collapse.

“The NDPP is a critical position upon which law enforcement depends. Equally it is important that government repair the damage done to the trust the nation holds in the state. The federation is calling upon Parliament to show initiative and leadership and codify such a progressive practise in law through amending the JMA Bill,” Parks said.

He suggested that the NDPP should involve the appointment of a non-partisan panel of experts that would conduct open and transparent interviews of the candidates for the NDPP position as a way to rebuild public confidence. The federation praised Ramaphosa for initiating this approach, instead of wanting to be at the centre of the process.

“COSATU therefore strongly urges the Portfolio Committee to insert a clause in the JMA Bill formalising those very progressive processes for the appointment of the NDPP. Such a transparent, considered and inclusive process should not be left to the generosity of an incumbent President, it must be enshrined in law and binding upon all future heads of state, in particular those who may be tempted to appoint compromised candidates as NDPP,” Parks said.

On the Recognition of Customary Marriages and Judicial Matters Amendment Bills, Cosatu said the Bill sought to protect women married before the 1998 enactment of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act in the event of divorce, death, separation of assets, custody etc. The amendment brought into the legislative mainstream, the plight of women married under the Transkei Marriages Act and similar former homeland legislations, who were affected by consequences of divorce, death, separation of assets, custody etc.

Parks said it was unacceptable that parliament and government only dealt with this matter now, and even exceeded the two year time frame given by the Constitutional Court for the matter to be corrected.

ericn@citizen.co.za

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