Publication: City Press Issued: Date: 2004-07-03 Reporter: Joseph J Mhlongo

Ngcuka's Anger Wrong, but his Focus was Right



City Press

Date 2004-07-03


Joseph J Mhlongo

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The language used by the National Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Bulelani Ngcuka, has shifted the focus away from the important trend he earlier set for judicial systems on the African continent. This came while he was responding to the report of the Public Protector, which alleged that Ngcuka abused his office in his treatment of Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

In its probe, the NDPP brushed against the second highest person in the country, the deputy president.

The NDPP might have committed some procedural mistakes here and there in the execution of its duties, and in the process violated some people's fundamental rights, but its investigation of the deputy president per se has once again emphasised that South Africa is a genuine constitutional country, truly based on the rule of law, where no one is above the law and everybody is equal before the law.

The impression created by the report is that if you are powerful, you are untouchable, and therefore above the law; meaning that you can never be prosecuted for wrongdoing. This casts doubt on the honesty of our leaders. Labels such as "fat cat" and "gravy train" are a direct result of this perception.

It is for this reason that the investigation of the allegations of corruption against Zuma must not be misconstrued as belittling the deputy president, but must be looked on as a demonstration of the operation of the rule of law, applicable to anyone regardless of status.

With acknowledgements to Joseph J Mhlongo and the City Press.