Zuma Hits At Ngcuka Over Editors
‘Briefing designed to entrench rumours'
Deputy President Jacob Zuma fired a new salvo in his running battle with prosecutions chief Bulelani Ngcuka yesterday, lashing out at a recent "secret meeting" between Ngcuka and a group of black newspaper editors.
Zuma said the meeting, to discuss allegations of bribery in the arms deal, was "clearly designed to entrench rumours and prejudice" and had been used to spread untruthful information about him in "a very malicious and despicable manner".
Zuma's strongly worded statement forms part of a continuing battle between Ngcuka and the deputy president following allegations of Zuma's involvement in the bribery case. The row led to the appointment of a judicial inquiry, after allegations emerged that Ngcuka was a spy for the apartheid government.
Allegations made in a document that purports to be an interpreted transcript of Ngcuka's June meeting with editors were first published in Business Day last week, while much of the contents of the document itself was published in City Press.
The document reflected poorly on Ngcuka and raised issues involving several investigations being undertaken by the Scorpions investigating unit at the time.
Zuma said he was "greatly shocked and disturbed" by reports of the meeting, which Ngcuka allegedly used to discuss cases he was investigating. "The briefing was clearly designed to entrench rumours and prejudice and to influence reporting and commentary on the cases.
"This conduct was in contravention of the confidentiality that is required in all investigations.
"I have said over the past few months that the national directorate of public prosecutions had treated me grossly unfairly and that I have been a victim of a wellorchestrated smear campaign through the media . The question still remains as to what was and still is the real motive of the campaign against me, which now seems to be including the African National Congress," Zuma said.
"If the reported discussions are accurate, then we are dealing with a very serious matter because the national director does not need to persuade the media as to the strength of his case, nor does he need to ask the media for support. He needs to convince the courts of law "
Ngcuka's office had not commented by last night.
With acknowledgements to Tim Cohen and the Business Day.