Publication: Mail and Guardian Issued: Date: 2004-05-31 Reporter: Sapa

DA Sits Back and Watches 'Internecine Warfare'



Mail & Guardian

Date 2004-05-31



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The "unseemly spat" between the public protector, the former justice minister and the national director for public prosecutions (NDPP) reflected badly on the African National Congress' appointment policy, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

"The ANC should urgently reconsider the 'redeployment' approach to these types of appointments, to spare the country further embarrassment and ridicule," said DA spokesperson Sheila Camerer in a statement.

She said the independence of both the NDPP and the public protector had been undermined because the ANC had redeployed its own politicians in jobs requiring impartiality.

Camerer said the DA would request an ad hoc committee be convened to deliberate on the findings of the public protector's report on Scorpions boss and NDPP Bulelani Ngcuka.

A Parliamentary debate on the matter would not be sufficient, she said.

The report, released by Public Protector Lawrence Mushwana on Friday, found that Ngcuka had impaired Deputy President Jacob Zuma's dignity and improperly prejudiced him.

Ngcuka and former Justice Minister Penuell Maduna had promptly replied that Mushwana was a liar with "no backbone".

They both disputed all the findings of the report. Ngcuka said it was disappointing that someone in the position of a public protector "could produce such garbage".

Meanwhile the ANC declined to comment on the content of Mushwana's report until it had been considered by Parliament.

It asked all involved to refrain from commenting and thus pre-empting the completion of the process. Zuma, however, had welcomed the report saying he felt vindicated by Mushwana's findings.

In August 2003, Ngcuka told the media there was a prima facie case of corruption against Zuma over the arms deal, but he would not prosecute him as the chances of success were not strong enough.

This caused much public debate and media speculation about Zuma's possible corrupt involvement in the multi-billion rand arms procurement deal.

Zuma then complained to the public protector about Ngcuka's remark, claiming Ngcuka had conducted his investigation into Zuma improperly, and had not even informed Zuma he was under investigation.

The protector found in favour of Zuma in these complaints, and further slated Ngcuka for not co-operating with him (Mushwana).

Camerer said the public fracas was an indication of the "extent of the internecine warfare in the ANC".

With acknowledgements to Sapa and the Mail & Guardian.