Publication: Business Day Issued: Date: 2004-07-07 Reporter: Sphiwe Mboyane

Mushwana, Ngcuka Must Leave ANC



Business Day

Date 2004-07-07


Sphiwe Mboyane

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on Scorpions boss Bulelani Ngcuka and public protector Lawrence Mushwana to immediately resign from and sever their ties with the African National Congress (ANC) to salvage the credibility of their institutions .

The DA feels Mushwana's and Ngcuka's association with the ruling party compromises their objectivity in the way they discharge their responsibilities.

The call comes two days after the ANC announced the establishment of a high-powered sixmember committee, led by party president Thabo Mbeki, to probe recent public disputes between Mushwana, Ngcuka and former justice minister Penuell Maduna.

The trio clashed over Mushwana's report, which was critical of the way Ngcuka handled corruption allegations against Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

Mushwana felt Ngcuka had violated Zuma's constitutional rights when he said last year that he would not prosecute Zuma for allegedly soliciting a bribe from a French arms company involved in the arms deal, even though he had prima facie evidence.

Ngcuka and Maduna went on the offensive, labelling Mushwana a liar, and dismissing his report as nonsensical.

They also disputed his assertion that they had failed to co-operate with him during the investigations.

Mushwana's report was endorsed by the National Assembly, which mildly rebuked Ngcuka. The assembly declined, however, to take any further action against Ngcuka, choosing instead to call on both Ngcuka and Mushwana to respect the dignity of their respective institutions.

DA justice spokesman Tertius Delport said yesterday that the appointment of the committee underlined "perfectly" the problem of the ANC deploying senior party figures to positions that demanded political neutrality.

"It seems clear that both are still members of the ANC," Delport said.

"South Africans are entitled to ask to whom these two major public figures are accountable."

Ngcuka and Mushwana, he said, "should owe a duty to the public. It appears they may owe a higher duty to their political party, the ANC."

Delport said that there was a clear potential for the ANC inquiry to undermine the "independence and impartiality" of the two constitutionally prescribed institutions.

The resignation of Ngcuka and Mushwana from the ANC, said Delport, would enable them to do "better" justice to the vitally important offices they hold.

"We also believe the ANC should make clear to whom it believes all party members deployed to the civil service are primarily responsible."

The committee, which includes Zuma, national chairman Mosiuoa Lekota and treasurer Mendi Msimang, will hand its report over to the next national executive committee meeting, which will take a final decision on the matter.

ANC spokesman Smuts Ngonyama said on Monday that the committee was not tasked to reinvestigate the matter, but to look at how the organisation could in future avoid such public rows between its senior leaders.

Ngonyama said all those involved could have handled the matter "differently"

The party's national working committee has already publicly berated the three for behaving in a manner not befitting their positions. It also raised the concern that their conduct might undermine the integrity of the institutions they lead.

With acknowledgements to Sphiwe Mboyane and the Business Day.