POLITICS
08/12/2017 14:46 SAST | Updated 08/12/2017 14:46 SAST

HuffPost's 5 Picks For New Prosecutions Boss

Now's the time to make the right decisions.

On Friday, the North Gauteng High Court decided that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa should appoint a new chief prosecutor. The court declared that incumbent Shaun Abraham's appointment was illegal, since his predecessor Mxolisi Nxasana's appointment and exit on a huge and invalid golden handshake of R17-million was illegal.

President Jacob Zuma's appeal will mean open warfare between the president and Ramaphosa, after the deputy president's comments on Thursday night about "Khwezi", who brought rape charges against the head of state.

Still, the judgment opens the tantalising option of a new appointment to fix the dysfunctional criminal justice system and deal with disabling allegations of state capture. South Africa is not short of significant legal talent and a brilliant national director of public prosecutions (the official title of the chief prosecutor) and head of the National Prosecuting Authority will not be hard to find. HuffPost SA imagines Ramaphosa is busy, so we have five suggestions for him.

1. THULI MADONSELA

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Thuli Madonsela, the former public protector.

Madonsela, the celebrated former public protector, is finishing her time at Harvard University in the U.S. This is perfect timing for her next job. Madonsela would be an ideal head of the NPA, as she is a qualified and admitted advocate with a fine pedigree of public service in her seven years as Public Protector.

Madonsela has experience working in the state in various public roles and has been presiding officer at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). As public protector, Madonsela showed herself to be diligent, bookish and a brilliant protector of the public. She was fearless in taking on state capture –– as her reports into the president's renovations of his pad at Nkandla and her final report on state capture showed.

2. VUSI PIKOLI

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 06: (SOUTH AFRICA, UAE, BRAZIL OUT) Former National Prosecuting Authority head Vusi Pikoli reads a document on August 6, 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Vusi Pikoli tried to prevent the appointment of his successor at the Pretoria High Court after a recommendation by former President Kgalema Motlanthe that Vusi Pikoli should be axed for not showing enough consideration for security matters was endorsed by Parliament in February this year. Pikoli denies this and maintains that the cause of his sacking was that he wanted to arrest National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi. (Photo by Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Fired by interim President Kgalema Motlanthe, many felt that Vusi Pikoli was gone too soon as chief prosecutor. He was suspended by former president Thabo Mbeki for investigating the then-police commissioner, Jackie Selebi, on serious corruption charges.

Pikoli is a cadre of the ANC and he knows government well. He is also a dedicated lawyer with a strong sense of service and public rectitude. It would be interesting to see how he takes up the reins of the post he was unceremoniously fired from for doing his job.

His appointment would also symbolise a fresh start, as his axing was the beginning of the end for the independence of this office. After Pikoli was axed, three disastrous appointments were made: Menzi Simelane, Mxolisi Nxasana and Shaun Abrahams.

3. JANET LOVE

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA � SEPTEMBER 13 Commissioner; Janet Love during the Human Rights Commission hearing into mining-affected communities on September 13, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. During the hearing held in Braamfontein, it was heard that traditional leaders entered into deals with mining companies on behalf of communities. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Veli Nhlapo)

Janet Love's just been appointed to the Independent Electoral Commission, but we think she would also be an ace national director of public prosecutions.

Love is a veteran anti-apartheid activist and freedom fighter. She is the immediate former national director of the legendary Legal Resources Centre. This means she would bring a strong sense of social justice to the NDPP, which the institution has lost as it has morphed into a political tool.

Love was a member of the management team at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa) and was also an executive member of the Constitutional Assembly. She is thus a top legal eagle. Love worked at the South African Reserve Bank for five years as head of strategic analysis, dealing with various security risks relating to cash that affected South Africa's financial stability.

This ability to follow the money and think about financial stability is vital as South Africa deals with illegal flows of money, which are core to the story of state capture. Love has studied through the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of London and has postgraduate qualifications in public administration, development management and economics –– she is thus a good manager, and the NPA needs a firm manager.

4. DALI MPOFU

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PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA NOVEMBER 01: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Advocate Dali Mpofu outside the Pretoria High Court during the State Capture report case on November 01, 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa. Judge Dunstan Mlambo ruled in favour of the opposition parties on their bid to intervene in President Jacob Zumas bid to stop the release of the state capture report. (Photo by Cornel van Heerden/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

He would have to give up the red beret –– Dali Mpofu is an office bearer in the Economic Freedom Fighters. If he were to clamber out of the red overalls, he would make a good streetfighting national director of the NPA.

Mpofu has grown a great practice as an advocate –– he often represents clients in the biggest public-defence cases. He's a hard-nosed street fighter, and he would be able to cut through the many factions and syndicates that have ruined the NPA.

5. WIM TRENGOVE

Juda Ngwenya / Reuters
South African President Nelson Mandela's lawyer Wim Trengove smiles as he leaves the Rand Supreme Court in Johannesburg March 19. A judge granted his request for an end to the marriage of Mandela, and his estranged wife Winnie whose "brazen public conduct and infidelity", Trengove said, had humiliated her husband

This cerebral advocate has 42 years' experience on the bench, and his legal skills are unparalleled.

Trengove has argued some of South Africa's most important public-interest cases, but he is also excellent at commercial law. He has appeared in all southern African courts, and is an honorary professor at the University of Cape Town and the Rhodes University law school.

Trengove acted for the first democratic president, Nelson Mandela, when rugby supremo Louis Luyt took him to court. He would be a measured choice who would restore legal prestige to the NPA.

**Plus a wild-card idea**

DIKGANG MOSENEKE

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA OCTOBER 09: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke during the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing at Emoyeni Conference Centre, Parktown on October 09, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. According to Health Ombudsman, Professor Malegapuru Makgobas testimony, the body count in the Life Esidimeni tragedy has been confirmed to 118. (Photo by Veli Nhlapo/Sowetan/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

It would be a step down from his previous role as deputy chief justice, but Dikgang Moseneke is open to public service.

He has chaired the arbitration hearings into the deaths in the Life Esidimeni scandal with unparallelled skill and humanity.

Perhaps he can be brought in to stabilise and clean out the NPA as an emeritus national director, and then hand over to one of the five people we have suggested.