South Africa


NPA loads up on senior appointments to stabilise the frontline leadership

National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi, left, and Investigative Directorate boss Hermione Cronjé. (Photo: Gallo Images / Phill Magakoe)

Several senior appointments announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa are the first aimed at firming up the frontline of the National Prosecuting Authority.

The Office of the President announced on 1 June 2020 the appointment of Advocates Ouma Rasethaba and Rodney de Kock as Deputy National Directors of Public Prosecutions with immediate effect.

Further announcements bolstering the capacity of the NPA, including the appointment of a fourth DNDPP to oversee strategy, operations and compliance, will also soon be made.

Advocate Mthunzi Maga, a veteran who has served the NPA as senior state advocate: Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit (SCCU) and as senior state advocate: Priority Crimes Litigation Unit, has been appointed as Special Director of Public Prosecutions in the Office of the National Director of Public Prosecution.

Maga was also a former member of the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO/Scorpions) task team.

He will assist National Director, Shamila Batohi, with specific regard to legal and administrative issues. Maga will also provide “strategic inputs in matters brought before the National Director, and will manage the relationship between the Office of the National Director and NPA stakeholders”.

The appointments will bring stability to the top leadership of the NPA, a central site in the capture of the state. They will also streamline the restructuring of the authority as several State Capture cases in the legal pipeline await launching.

Lawson Naidoo, Executive Secretary for the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC), welcomed “the long overdue filling of these positions”.

Naidoo said CASAC hoped that the bolstered leadership will assist the NPA in speeding up its institutional rehabilitation, as well as the prosecution of corruption and State Capture cases, alongside its primary duty to prosecute all criminal offences in South Africa”.

The appointments, however, said Naidoo, should not “mask the fact that there are critical staff shortages and expertise within the NPA. The NPA sits at the fulcrum of the criminal justice system, and must be properly resourced to enable it to prosecute without fear, favour or prejudice”.

De Kock was seconded as Director of Public Prosecutions in the Western Cape as acting Deputy National Director in March 2020. This was a position previously occupied by the disgraced Nomgcobo Jiba.

He has been a Director of Public Prosecutions for 15 years and the second most senior Director of Public Prosecutions with 32 years’ legal experience – 15 years of these at an executive leadership level within the NPA.

De Kock was awarded a Bachelor of Arts and Law degrees in 1983 and 1984 respectively from the University of Cape Town. He has two degrees (BA and LLB) and was admitted as an attorney of the High Court of South Africa in July 1986, became an attorney of the High Court of Namibia in April 1990, and an advocate of the High Court in April 1999.

Rasethaba, said the President’s office, brought with her 30 years’ of legal experience since her admission as an attorney in 1990 and an advocate six years later. She holds a B Proc (University of the North), LLB (University of Witwatersrand), Dip Company Law (University of Witwatersrand) and LLM (University of Pretoria) and is a Governance and Risk Expert, having worked in the corporate sector for 10 years.

Former spokesperson for the DSO, Sipho Ngwema, has been appointed as NPA Spokesperson, also with immediate effect. Ngwema formerly served as head of communications for the Competition Commission. DM



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