On Friday, the North Gauteng High Court decided that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa should appoint a new chief prosecutor. The court declared that incumbent Shaun Abraham's appointment was illegal, since his predecessor Mxolisi Nxasana's appointment and exit on a huge and invalid golden handshake of R17-million was illegal.
President Jacob Zuma's appeal will mean open warfare between the president and Ramaphosa, after the deputy president's comments on Thursday night about "Khwezi", who brought rape charges against the head of state.
Still, the judgment opens the tantalising option of a new appointment to fix the dysfunctional criminal justice system and deal with disabling allegations of state capture. South Africa is not short of significant legal talent and a brilliant national director of public prosecutions (the official title of the chief prosecutor) and head of the National Prosecuting Authority will not be hard to find. HuffPost SA imagines Ramaphosa is busy, so we have five suggestions for him.
1. THULI MADONSELA
Madonsela, the celebrated former public protector, is finishing her time at Harvard University in the U.S. This is perfect timing for her next job. Madonsela would be an ideal head of the NPA, as she is a qualified and admitted advocate with a fine pedigree of public service in her seven years as Public Protector.
Madonsela has experience working in the state in various public roles and has been presiding officer at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). As public protector, Madonsela showed herself to be diligent, bookish and a brilliant protector of the public. She was fearless in taking on state capture –– as her reports into the president's renovations of his pad at Nkandla and her final report on state capture showed.
2. VUSI PIKOLI
Fired by interim President Kgalema Motlanthe, many felt that Vusi Pikoli was gone too soon as chief prosecutor. He was suspended by former president Thabo Mbeki for investigating the then-police commissioner, Jackie Selebi, on serious corruption charges.
Pikoli is a cadre of the ANC and he knows government well. He is also a dedicated lawyer with a strong sense of service and public rectitude. It would be interesting to see how he takes up the reins of the post he was unceremoniously fired from for doing his job.
His appointment would also symbolise a fresh start, as his axing was the beginning of the end for the independence of this office. After Pikoli was axed, three disastrous appointments were made: Menzi Simelane, Mxolisi Nxasana and Shaun Abrahams.
3. JANET LOVE
Janet Love's just been appointed to the Independent Electoral Commission, but we think she would also be an ace national director of public prosecutions.
Love is a veteran anti-apartheid activist and freedom fighter. She is the immediate former national director of the legendary Legal Resources Centre. This means she would bring a strong sense of social justice to the NDPP, which the institution has lost as it has morphed into a political tool.
Love was a member of the management team at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa) and was also an executive member of the Constitutional Assembly. She is thus a top legal eagle. Love worked at the South African Reserve Bank for five years as head of strategic analysis, dealing with various security risks relating to cash that affected South Africa's financial stability.
This ability to follow the money and think about financial stability is vital as South Africa deals with illegal flows of money, which are core to the story of state capture. Love has studied through the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of London and has postgraduate qualifications in public administration, development management and economics –– she is thus a good manager, and the NPA needs a firm manager.
4. DALI MPOFU
He would have to give up the red beret –– Dali Mpofu is an office bearer in the Economic Freedom Fighters. If he were to clamber out of the red overalls, he would make a good streetfighting national director of the NPA.
Mpofu has grown a great practice as an advocate –– he often represents clients in the biggest public-defence cases. He's a hard-nosed street fighter, and he would be able to cut through the many factions and syndicates that have ruined the NPA.
5. WIM TRENGOVE
This cerebral advocate has 42 years' experience on the bench, and his legal skills are unparalleled.
Trengove has argued some of South Africa's most important public-interest cases, but he is also excellent at commercial law. He has appeared in all southern African courts, and is an honorary professor at the University of Cape Town and the Rhodes University law school.
Trengove acted for the first democratic president, Nelson Mandela, when rugby supremo Louis Luyt took him to court. He would be a measured choice who would restore legal prestige to the NPA.
**Plus a wild-card idea**
It would be a step down from his previous role as deputy chief justice, but Dikgang Moseneke is open to public service.
He has chaired the arbitration hearings into the deaths in the Life Esidimeni scandal with unparallelled skill and humanity.
Perhaps he can be brought in to stabilise and clean out the NPA as an emeritus national director, and then hand over to one of the five people we have suggested.