In handing down his ruling on Tuesday, Judge JW Louw said the office of the NDPP is required to be independent and should be seen to be independent.
He said it is a matter of public knowledge that the office of the NDPP is plagued by instability.
“The process directed by the President is a big improvement. The President has not given reasons why it should be closed to the public,” said Louw “The process should be open and transparent. It is of importance that confidence is restored in the office of the NDPP.”
The 12 people shortlisted for the vacant NDPP position are expected to be interviewed on Wednesday. That process will now be delayed while a bigger venue is found to accommodate the media.
NGO Right2Know (R2K) decided to approach the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria after the Presidency revealed that the interviews would not be open to the media.
R2K wanted President Cyril Ramaphosa to allow 20 “accredited members of the media” to attend the interviews and report on them.
Advocate Ben Winks earlier told the High Court that it was the president’s right to appoint any person he deemed fit to lead the NPA, but that a precedent had been set when the interviews for the position of Public Protector were open to the media.
“He decided to close the interview, at least to the media. He violates the press. The Presidency is called upon to justify why [it is] closing it to the media. What mischief will the media cause if they are allowed to attend?” Winks asked.
Representing the Presidency, Advocate Gcina Malindi argued that the matter was not urgent.
Malindi said it took the applicant three and a half days to bring an application after the notice was issued and if it had brought on time, the matter would have been heard on time.
In its court papers, the Presidency also said the interviewing panel needed to be able to engage in “detailed debate on sensitive NPA matters and investigations”.
READ MORE: Where to from here for Shaun Abrahams?
The 12 people on the shortlist are:
Andrew Chauke – South Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions
Glynnis Breytenbach – a career prosecutor who was a member of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit who also dealt with high-profile cases
Andrea Johnson – who was Advocate Gerrie Nel’s co-prosecutor in the State’s case against convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius
Advocate Silas Ramaite
Advocate Moipone Noko – Director of Public Prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal
Advocate M Makhari
Advocate Rodney de Kock – Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions
Simphiwe Mlotshwa – a Pietermaritzburg advocate
Naomi Manaka – a former magistrate turned advocate
Siyabulela Xhanti Mapoma
Advocate Shamila Batohi – who was the lead prosecutor on the King Commission of Inquiry into match-fixing involving former Proteas Captain Hansie Cronje
Advocate Matric Luphondo.
UPDATE: The Democratic Alliance (DA) confirmed that its spokeswoman on justice, MP Glynnis Breytenbach, withdrew from the shortlist of NDPP candidates for the sake of depoliticising the post. Meanwhile, Acting NDPP boss, Advocate Silas Ramaite, was reported to have been “very philosophical” by not answering questions directly during his interview.