The Presidency has confirmed that the process to appoint a new head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is underway. This follows last week's Constitutional Court decision that Advocate Menzi Simelane's appointment was unconstitutional.
The Presidency is expected to make a new appointment after consultations with the Justice Department. Currently, Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba is acting as the prosecutions boss. Earlier today, the NPA said it could not comment on Simelane’s issue and that the Presidency was better placed to comment.
The Johannesburg Bar Council also indicated today that it will proceed with Simelane’s disciplinary hearing. The disciplinary hearing was first considered in the light of findings of dishonesty levelled against Simelane by the Ginwala Commission of Enquiry.
The Supreme Court of Appeal and most recently, the Constitutional Court, found that President Zuma's appointment of Simelane as Prosecutions head was unconstitutional. Senior Advocate, Mike Hellens, was appointed as the pro-forma prosecutor in the disciplinary proceedings. In light of the Constitutional Court's ruling, Hellens said he is now ready to proceed.
He says a charge sheet will be formulated before the end of this month. The charges could relate to whether Simelane is a fit and proper person to be an advocate, following the Ginwala Commission’s findings that Simelane was dishonest during his testimony.
An independent panel of advocates will preside over the disciplinary hearing, with proceedings conducted much like a court case. Simelane will have an opportunity to defend himself, while Hellens will have to prove the allegations. If the panel finds him not to be a fit and proper person, then they could approach the High Court to have his name struck from the roll.