Our National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is in charge of proving that crooks belong in jail and its Investigating Directorate is central to that role. So it was a blow when its head, Hermione Cronje, resigned in December citing exhaustion and frustrations about the directorate’s operations; she reportedly struggled to pursue key state capture prosecutions because of limited resources and budget. Cronje served her last day on Tuesday and we were all prepared for a long wait for a replacement as President Cyril Ramaphosa isn’t exactly known for taking fast action (on that note it’s been 142 days since we’ve had a permanent Chief Justice. 👀)
Thankfully, also on Tuesday, Ramaphosa announced a slew of appointments including Advocate Andrea Johnson as Cronje’s replacement.
The good news is Johnson is an impressive choice for the job. She led investigations and prosecutions against the likes of mining millionaire Brett Kebble and Jackie Selebi, SA’s notorious former national police commissioner, as well as appearing alongside Gerrie Nel in Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial. Johnson was previously interviewed to head up the NPA in 2018; that post went to Advocate Shamila Batohi. With 25 years of experience, Johnson has been described as a “no-nonsense” person, who has a knack for getting things done.
The appointment comes on the back of concerns that the NPA is delaying high-profile prosecutions and follows the release of the three-part state capture report. South Africans are getting impatient and we’ve previously noted concerns with the NPA. Hopefully, things will be different for Johnson when it comes to resources: the last budget allocated funds to appoint 90 people in her unit.
This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 4 March 2022. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.