Heath Awaits PW-Style Raid on His Office
|Reporter||Jean Le May|
Judge Willem Heath says he expects a government raid on his Special Investigating Unit offices to obtain information he has on alleged corruption in South Africa's R43-billion arms deal.
On Friday Heath was castigated by President Thabo Mbeki for withholding information about the deal that was given to him in confidence.
"Whistleblowers gave me a great deal more information, over and above the information I was given by (Pan Africanist Congress MP) Patricia de Lille," Heath said in a telephone interview on Saturday.
"We have not copied these documents, because there appeared to be no urgency. I expect the government to take steps to obtain them, possibly by raiding our offices."
Political leaders have speculated that the government could follow the precedent set by former president PW Botha, who ordered a raid on the offices of the late judge Anton Mostert after closing down his commission investigating the use of secret funds in the Department of Information Scandal in 1978.
Heath said he had discussions with Justice Minister Penuell Maduna on Friday, before the press conference at which Mbeki's director general, Frank Chikane, announced the Heath unit would not be instructed to investigate the arms deal.
"It is not a question of not trusting the government, as President Mbeki has apparently assumed," said Heath. "I told the minister that I had given an undertaking to whistleblowers that their identities would not be revealed and I am not going to break that undertaking."
With acknowledgement to Jean Le May and Independent Online.