Was Ngcuka a Spy? - Comment
Today we publish a story speculating that the head of the National Prosecuting Authority, Bulelani Ngcuka, was once investigated by the African National Congress for being a police spy.
It was not an easy editorial decision to make. One, Ngcuka's office is key to the functioning of our judicial system. We would not like to be seen to be undermining that office.
Secondly, we are dealing here with a powerful structure that can arrest, investigate and prosecute. Its power - and too much power can be seductive - would have made your average newspaper flinch at the prospect of criminal defamation.
But the furore surrounding Ngcuka and Deputy President Jacob Zuma has made this issue of public concern, and indeed, national interest.
The saga is already playing itself out in the public arena and as a newspaper we cannot hold back. The public has the right to know about the undercurrents stirring the affair.
The claims about Ngcuka having once been a police spy are serious. And if indeed Zuma once investigated Ngcuka, the public should have been told. In fact, the public should have been told long ago. It would help provide a political perspective of what is really going on in the Zuma-Ngcuka saga.
Be that as it may, the question has to be asked why these allegations are surfacing now while Ngcuka is investigating matters involving the deputy president.
How, if indeed he was an apartheid police spy, was he appointed to the position he holds?
Is the ANC leadership so naive that it could appoint someone with a suspect background to such an important position?
Are these claims against Ngcuka part of an intricate power play within the ANC? Is Ngcuka's investigation of Zuma itself about political power games?
And can we afford to place SA's national interest at the altar of these power games?
As we have said in the past, this saga is becoming increasingly dirty and demands decisive political leadership and action.
President Thabo Mbeki and the ruling party must inform the SA public what the true score is.
With acknowledgements to The Editor and City Press.