Publication: Business Day Issued: Date: 2001-01-26 Reporter: Editor:

Presidency Effectively Labels Heath a Liar


Publication  Business Day
Date 2001-01-26
Reporter INet Bridge
Web Link

www.bday.co.za

President Thabo Mbeki's office on Tuesday continued its criticism of Judge Willem Heath, effectively labelling him a liar.

Mbeki's director-general, Frank Chikane, was reacting to reports which he said "sought to discredit" the president's statements made during last week's televised address to the nation on his decision to exclude Heath from the R43bn arms probe.

Media reports on Tuesday said the diagrams displayed by the Mbeki on television as part of evidence of corruption that Heath had been accused of using against government were meaningless.

The "organograms" purported to link Mbeki, former president Nelson Mandela and several cabinet ministers to the arms deal.

Investigative journalist Martin Welz this week claimed responsibility for drawing up the diagrams and said he fully believed Heath when he said he had never seen the diagrams before Mbeki displayed them on TV.

Heath is on record as saying that the organograms were never in his possession.

However, Chikane on Tuesday said: "The office of the president reiterates that these 'organograms' are among the documents that Heath refused to make available to the Minister of Justice (Penuell Maduna)."

"The deliberate propagation of untruths about this matter will not change this reality."

Chikane repeated the presidency's challenge to Heath "to produce any evidence that he may have of government corruption".

Asked whether the presidency was calling Heath a liar, presidential spokesman Nazeem Mahatey told Sapa: "You can interpret that in any way".

With acknowledgement to INet Bridge and Business Day.