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Fri Nov 28 03:21:04 SAST 2014

New SIU boss to be named 'soon'

QUINTON MTYALA | 06 March, 2013 01:00
Minister of Justice, Jeff Radebe.
Image by: Herman Marx

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe has told parliament that the appointment of a new national director of public prosecutions, and of the head of the Special Investigating Unit, are "imminent".

Radebe was briefing parliament's justice and constitutional development portfolio committee on his department's budget policy.

The Special Investigating Unit has been without a permanent head for more than a year following the resignation of Willem Heath, a former judge.

"The constitution is very clear: the power lies with the head of state [President Jacob Zuma] to appoint the national director of public prosecutions," said Radebe.

Nomgcobo Jiba has been acting head of the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions since December 2011, when the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that Menzi Simelane's appointment by Zuma had been inconsistent with the constitution and was invalid.

"The process of filling senior management posts in the Department [of Justice and Constitutional Development] is under way.

"All the vacant positions at the level of [deputy director-general] have been advertised and interviews have been held.

"Recommendations have been put forward to the cabinet, and I hope in the next cabinet meeting those appointments will be made."

But Radebe and Zuma are singing from a different hymn book in respect of the long-overdue appointments.

Radebe told reporters in Pretoria on Sunday last week that the Special Investigating Unit's new head would be named by Thursday but nothing has been heard from Zuma.

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said: "It is not a question of delay, it is a question of processing.

He [Zuma] is not a rubbish dump; he receives recommendations, he has to apply his mind to it and has to ensure that the process is double-checked to ensure it is within the legal requirements . it is not an automatic process."

Radebe told parliament that his department was close to achieving a clean audit.

Last year it received a qualified audit because it was unable to account for millions of rands it received in the form of bail money, maintenance payments, fines and other inflows of cash.

He said the department had cleared all irregular expenditure.

Radebe said that because of the "bleak economic outlook" there were no resources for additional funding of his department's witness protection programme.

"When the fortunes of the department's finances improve, we will come back to this issue," he said.

The ANC's John Jeffrey asked what Radebe's department was doing to expedite the payment of reparations to victims of apartheid, as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

"The process has taken an inordinate time but I think we're at the end of it ." Radebe replied.

ANC member Jonas Sibanyoni said there were 62 people nationally who had to be tracked down to receive their R30000 once-off payments from the President's Fund.

Radebe said that, though his department had accepted the National Development Plan's focus on crime prevention, "each and every line" of the plan could not be implemented. - Additional reporting by Sipho Masombuka

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