NDPP will be slippery to clutches of state capture – Cyril Ramaphosa

Corruption has become so endemic that it caused us to almost begin to become a failing state, says President

'We'll appoint an NDPP who'll be slippery to clutches of state capture' - Ramaphosa

23 October 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised that South Africa will have a National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) who is "slippery" to potential capturers of the state.

The president was speaking at the Heads of Mission Conference at the Department of International Relations in Pretoria on Tuesday. It was his first public address since spending a week recovering at home after falling ill with an upper respiratory infection.

Ramaphosa, who seemed to be in a jovial mood, joked around with the diplomats and assured them that the country was on the right trajectory.

"When our image is damaged here, you have a difficult task to explain," he said of the different diplomats serving at missions across the globe.

Alive to mistakes

Acknowledging that leaders in the country were becoming "more and more alive" to mistakes they had made since the dawn of democracy, Ramaphosa said the task was now to right some of the wrongs.

"We are not sitting on our backside doing nothing," said the president.

Ramaphosa said processes to restore confidence in the country's institutions and governance were underway. He also said the investigation and prosecution of those involved in wrongdoing were being conducted.

Ramaphosa recently appointed a panel of legal organisations and independent public institutions to assist with selecting a new head of public prosecutions.

"We are not moving forward to appoint the next NDPP, a panel has been put in place. It's going to interview a plethora of people who are possible candidates and in the end they will select a few names which the president will then appoint," Ramaphosa said.

Corruption challenge

"The appointee will be a person who, one, will not be captured. We want them to be as slippery [in] the hands of capturers as possible," he said.

"One of the challenges we face is corruption. Corruption has become so endemic in our country that it caused us to almost begin to become a failing state," Ramaphosa said.

The president, referring to his investment drive to boost the country's economy, said most of the efforts toward raising the required $1bn (R14.3bn) had to come from South Africans and not just international investors. He, however, thanked the missions for driving the message that South Africa was "open for business" across the globe.

"It is our missions abroad that are leading our economic diplomacy, that need to ensure that the outcomes of the conference are conveyed around the world, and that are responsible for assisting the expansion of trade and investment links with partner countries," said Ramaphosa.