Ngcuka : Mac Maharaj Under Fire
Cape Town - Even though former minister Mac Maharaj was present at the cabinet meeting where the appointment of Bulelani Ngcuka as national director of public prosecution was confirmed, he didn't say a word about allegations that Ngcuka was an apartheid spy.
This was revealed by Justice Minister Penuell Maduna in reply to a parliamentary question on Thursday.
Maharaj, former minister of transport, earlier alleged that it was thought Ngcuka could have been an apartheid spy.
A judicial commision of inquiry was ordered to investigate the allegation.
In his reply to a question posed by Sheila Camerer, Democratic Alliance MP, about whether Ngcuka had been given security clearance before his appointment, Maduna said he had not, because it was not a requirement.
This was in reply to an earlier claim by Maharaj that Ngcuka's background had not been investigated properly.
Maduna said Dullah Omar, former justice minister, announced on July 16 1998 that then-president Nelson Madela recommended that Ngcuka be appointed. The appointment was confirmed at a cabinet meeting on July 29 1998.
Maduna said it was interesting that all the cabinet ministers, including Maharaj, had been present at the meeting.
"At no stage, before or after the appointment, was Ngcuka's past raised, even though he was earmarked to become the first director of public prosecution."
Maharaj said he would work with the commission of inquiry and that it was the correct forum to investigate matters such as Mgcuka's past and how investigations were carried out. He declined to comment directly on Maduna's statement.
Maduna said he had discussed the allegations against Ngcuka with him and that Ngcuka had given an assurance they were untrue. Maduna said Ngcuka, himself, insisted on a commission of inquiry.
Camerer posed another question and wanted to know if Ngcuka would have been unsuitable for the post if he had spied for the apartheid government.
In an apparent reference to earlier allegations by Patricia de Lille, leader of the Independent Democrats, that Maduna himself had been an apartheid spy, Camerer said Maduna should keep these allegations in mind when replying.
Maduna said De Lille had never been able to prove her allegations.
Maduna said that, apart from the allegation that Ngcuka might have had ties with the apartheid government, before any steps could be taken against Ngcuka it would have to be proved that he had abused his position because of those ties.
With acknowledgements to Willem Jordaan and Die Burger.