Publication: Die Burger Issued: Date: 2004-07-27 Reporter: Willem Jordaan

Ngcuka Speculation Mounts



Die Burger

Date 2004-07-27


Willem Jordaan

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Cape Town - Bulelani Ngcula's successor is the subject of much speculation in political circles.

Ngcuka's spokesperson, Sipho Ngwema, confirmed that Ngcuka wanted to be out of his office by the end of the week, but President Thabo Mbeki, who is on leave until Monday, still has to approve it.

Ngcuka resigned as director of public prosecutions on Friday.

If Mbeki releases Ngcuka from his duties before the end of the week, the position will probably be filled by an acting director, government sources said.

Such a person would probably be drawn from the prosecution authority's office. Dr Silas Ramaite, national deputy director of public prosecutions, is a strong candidate.

Ramaite apparently has "more than enough" experience and know-how to take over until a permanent appointment is made.

Although the deputy director cannot be ignored as a candidate, it is still widely rumoured that former Limpopo premier Ngoako Ramatlhodi has been earmarked for the position.

Ramatlhodi earlier said "there are many qualified people to do Ngcuka's job".

"It would be arrogant to assume that I will get the job," he said. "I'm not really concerned about it, it doesn't keep me awake at night."

He denied that he had been approached about succeeding Ngcuka.

Ramatlhodi studied law, but will have to be admitted as an advocate if he is appointed. He is busy registering as an advocate at the Johannesburg bar.

He said: "One never knows when it could come in handy."

The Democratic Alliance meanwhile said the national director should have no direct ties with the ANC. It said Ngcuka was put under tremendous pressure because he was an ANC politician.

Government and ANC circles said on Monday that the new candidate's political affiliations would not influence the appointment.

"The most important thing is that the candidate must be able to do the job," a government source said.

Mbeki's spokesperson, Bheki Khumalo, said the final decision would rest with Mbeki.

With acknowledgements to Willem Jordaan and Die Burger.