13 November 2018
The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) supports a high court application brought by the Right to Know (R2K) Campaign that challenges the decision by the Presidency to conduct interviews in private with candidates for the position of National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).
SANEF’s lawyers wrote to the Presidency on 2 November, requesting that they open up to the public interviews with NDPP candidates. To date, no response has been received as regards SANEF’s request, even after our attorney reached out to the Presidency’s legal advisers.
SANEF believes that there is substantial public interest not only in the appointment of the NDPP, but also in the selection process that precedes it. We welcome the consultative and considered approach that President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken in the appointment of the NDPP, but we are of the opinion that, given the considerable public crisis of confidence surrounding the National Prosecuting Authority and the position of NDPP, the media has a manifest duty in terms of the Constitution, to report on such proceedings.
Allowing the media access to the interviews is, in effect, no different to allowing the media access to interviews for the SABC Board, the Judicial Service Commission, for the Public Protector or, indeed, any parliamentary committee meeting in which crucial matters of governance are discussed.
The process to select a new NDPP will benefit from such legitimacy and public scrutiny and will immeasurably contribute to ensuring that confidence in the office of the NDPP is restored.
SANEF will be closely following the R2K court hearing and we wish them well in their attempts to open-up this important process, that has the potential to restore trust in a critical state organ.
For more information please contact:
Mahlatse Mahlase – SANEF Chairperson
083 399 2852
Mary Papayya – SANEF Media Freedom Chair
082 379 4957
Adriaan Basson – SANEF Management Committee
082 562 2113
Kate Skinner – SANEF Executive Director
082 926 6404