Publication: Pretoria News Issued: Date: 2004-07-26 Reporter:

Ngcuka : Did He Jump... Or Was He Pushed?



Pretoria News

Date 2004-07-26


Staff Reporters

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Did the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka, jump or was he pushed? This is the burning question in the wake of the shock announcement at the weekend that the Scorpions boss has quit.

The departure by Ngcuka comes after months of highly publicised fighting between him, Deputy President Jacob Zuma and Public Protector Lawrence Mushwana.

President Mbeki is still to decide whether he will accept the resignation when he returns from leave.

The abrupt nature of Ngcuka's resignation has led to much speculation. His resignation comes shortly before the trial of Zuma's financial adviser, Shabir Shaik, who faces charges of corruption.

If Ngcuka does go, his position seems set to be filled by his deputy, Silas Ramaite. But the long-term plan, say analysts, is to replace Ngcuka with former Northern Province Premier Ngoako Ramatlhodi.

Speaking to the Pretoria News last week, Ngcuka indicated he would like nothing more than to live in the Cape.

With his extensive legal and business connections, it seems likely that he will go into private business, should his resignation be accepted by Mbeki.

Commenting on Ngcuka's resignation, Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille said: "It is a sad day for corruption busting in our country."

Pan African Congress secretary-general Mofihli Likotsi said that when Ngcuka announced he was investigating Zuma for possible corruption in the multi-billion rands arms deal, he lost favour with some of his comrades in the government and African National Congress.

"Ngcuka did not enjoy the support he deserved and his professional conduct came under severe pressure."

The government's chief spokesperson, Joel Netshitenzhe, has confirmed that Ngcuka has submitted his resignation.

"Once the president has formally considered the matter and formally responded to the minister (of Justice, Bridgette Mabandla), a formal announcement will be made," he said.

Ngcuka is the latest victim of the political fallout from the Scorpions' investigations of corruption allegations involving Zuma.

Likotsi said the last straw was when Ngcuka had a fallout with Public Protector Lawrence Mushwana.

On May 28, Mushwana released his report after probing whether Ngcuka conducted himself properly when investigating allegations of corruption against Zuma.

Zuma complained to Mushwana in October last year that he was not fairly treated by Ngcuka during the investigation.

It is the probe against Zuma which has resulted in Ngcuka, Mushwana and former Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Penuell Maduna feuding with each other.

When Mushwana's report was sent to parliament, it unanimously adopted his report and expressed its disapproval with Ngcuka's statement. Parliament also recommended that no further action be taken against him.

Democratic spokesperson Sheila Camerer said it was clear that Ngcuka has finally succumbed to the "huge" political pressure put on him by the ANC majority in Parliament.

The Democratic Alliance said Ngcuka's departure was a great pity.

The chief prosecutor said he had prima facie evidence against Zuma, but would not prosecute him as the chance of a conviction was not great enough.

Camerer said Ngcuka's resignation proved it was unwise to put high-profile ANC politicians into jobs which required absolute impartiality.

With acknowledgement to the Pretoria News.