Publication: Sapa Issued: Date: 2004-07-25 Reporter: Sapa Reporter: Anele ka Nene

Appoint New Chief Prosecutor Urgently : NNP




Date 2004-07-25


Anele ka Nene, Sapa


The New National Party has called on government to appoint a new national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) urgently following the resignation of the incumbent, Bulelani Ngcuka.

NNP spokeswoman Carol Johnson said on Sunday: "We urge the government fill the vacancy in a speedy fashion as the office of the NDPP is crucial in the fight against crime."

Government chief spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe has confirmed that Ngcuka had submitted his resignation.

"Once the president (Thabo Mbeki) 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 alleged corruption by Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

Johnson said Ngcuka did an excellent job as the chief prosecutor and his decision to step down should be respected.

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

DA spokeswoman Sheila Camerer said it was clear that Ngcuka has finally succumbed to the "huge" political pressure put on him by the African National Congress (ANC) majority in Parliament.

"Ngcuka has been a tough minded crime buster who played rough and acted without fear, favour or prejudice when pursuing criminals as required by the Constitution," she said.

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

On May 28, Public Protector Lawrence Mushwana released his report after probing whether Ngcuka conducted himself properly when investigating Zuma for alleged corruption over the multi-billion rand arms deal.

The deputy president complained to the Mushwana in October last year that he was not fairly treated by Ngcuka during the probe.

It is the investigation against Zuma which 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 the public protector's report and expressed its disapproval with Ngcuka's statement. Parliament also recommended that no further action be taken against him.

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

"Inevitably cadres like Ngcuka and Mushwana are liable to be pressured by the ANC or by factions within the party," she said.

"Indeed, they are set up for failure."

Camerer said the DA would be watching with interest to see if Ngcuka's resignation would affect the case of corruption and fraud against Schabir Shaik.

Shaik, also an ANC member and Zuma's financial adviser, was under investigation in connection with the arms deal.

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

"Instead of getting a pat on the back for the good work he has done, Ngcuka got a political kick up the butt."

The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) said Ngcuka quit his post because of pressure from some quarters in the government and the ANC.

PAC secretary-general Mofihli Likotsi said 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 ANC.

"Ngcuka did not enjoy the support he deserved and his professional conduct (came) severely under pressure and under scrutiny," he said.

With acknowledgement to Anele ka Nene and Sapa.