Publication: Sunday Times Issued: Date: 2003-09-28 Reporter: S'Thembiso Msomi

Spy Inquiry Ready to Roll



Sunday Times

Date 2003-09-28


S'Thembiso Msomi

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The Ngcuka saga has divided the ANC and its allies

The judicial commission appointed to investigate whether the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka, spied for the apartheid state begins its operations this week following the appointment of an advocate to lead evidence in the matter.

The commission, headed by retired Supreme Court of Appeal president Judge Josephus Francois Hefer, will be based in Bloemfontein.

Commission secretary John Bacon, appointed last week, said on Friday that the name of the advocate appointed to lead evidence in the matter would be announced tomorrow.

Allegations about Ngcuka's past emerged a few weeks ago amid the controversy surrounding the Scorpions' investigations into alleged corruption by Deputy President Jacob Zuma, his financial adviser Schabir Shaik and former transport minister Mac Maharaj.

After charging Shaik with a number of offences, Ngcuka stated that action would not be taken against Zuma because the Scorpions did not feel that they had enough evidence to have him convicted despite having a "prima facie" case against him.

Ngcuka's opponents have since alleged that he was once investigated by the ANC for alleged spy activities. Zuma was the head of the ANC's intelligence wing in exile and Maharaj and Shaik's brother, Mo, have claimed that Ngcuka was investigated by the party.

The handling of the arms-deal investigation and the spy allegations has divided the ANC and its allies. Many have now pinned their hopes for a speedy conclusion to the matter on the Hefer Commission.

Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Penuell Maduna told Parliament on Thursday that Ngcuka had requested the appointment of a judicial commission.

When asked by DA MP Sheila Camerer whether Ngcuka had received a security clearance when he was appointed, Maduna said a security check had not been done as the Cabinet was not legally required to do so.

Maduna also told Parliament that Maharaj was present at a 1998 Cabinet meeting where Ngcuka's appointment to head the Scorpions was approved.

With acknowledgements to S'Thembiso Msomi and the Sunday Times.