JOHANNESBURG. – President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Dr Silas Ramaite as Acting National Director of Public Prosecutions.
This marks Ramaite’s third stint as an acting NPA head, brought in following the resignations of Bulelani Ngcuka in 2004 and Mxolisi Nxasana in 2015.
This time Ramaite replaces Shaun Abrahams, who was forced to vacate the office following the Constitutional Court ruling on Monday. The court found that Abrahams’ appointment was invalid because his predecessor, Nxasana, was wrongfully removed by then-president Jacob Zuma.
The court ruled that Nxasana must pay back the R10m Zuma paid him to vacate the post.
Ramaphosaa now has three months to choose a new NPA head.
“While the President is studying the judgment, he is committed to appointing a permanent NDPP well within the 90 days given by the Constitutional Court for such an appointment to be made,” Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said in statement.
Ramaite is currently the National Prosecution Authority’s Deputy National Director responsible for Administration and Office for Witness Protection. He has served as deputy director for 15 years.
A career prosecutor, Ramaite holds the following degrees: B.Proc (University of Fort Hare), LL.B; LL.M, specialising in Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Administrative Law and Public International Law; and LL.D specialising in Constitutional Law (University of South Africa). He was admitted as an advocate of the Supreme Court in 1988 and was granted the status of Senior Counsel (SC) in 2001.
However in 2011 he courted controversy when he was arrested and released on R1 000 bail.
The National Prosecutions Act forces the president to choose among the current four deputies: Ramaite, Nomgcobo Jiba, Willie Hofmeyer and Nomvula Mokhatla.
The section states: “Whenever the office of the national director is vacant, or the national director is for any reason unable to make the appointment contemplated in paragraph (a), the president may, after consultation with the minister, appoint any deputy national director as acting national director.”
Jiba is facing an inquiry into her fitness to hold office. Last week, Ramaphosa asked her to give reasons why she should not be suspended pending the inquiry. In July, the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned a ruling of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that Jiba be struck from the roll of advocates.
Hofmeyer faced scathing criticism from the Supreme Court of Appeal for defending the NPA’s decision to drop the charges against Zuma, following the emergence of the so-called “spy tapes”.
Ramaphosa has wished Ramaite well in his new role and said he believed this week’s court judgment had set the NPA on a path that would restore its integrity and build the nation’s confidence in the criminal justice system.
Meanwhile the ANC has congratulated Ramaphosa on making a swift decision to appoint Ramaite to the position.
“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,” said ANC head of the presidency Zizi Kodwa in a statement. – News24