Publication: Cape Times Issued: Date: 2004-06-04 Reporter: Jeremy Michaels

Ngcuka Sorry, but Says He'll Fight Mushwana



Cape Times

Date 2004-06-04


Jeremy Michaels

Web Link


Prosecutions boss Bulelani Ngcuka has vowed to hit back at Public Protector Lawrence Mushwana's critical report of him and "smash it into smithereens".

Ngcuka yesterday apologised to the nation for losing his temper with Mushwana in public last weekend, but fired another salvo in his battle with the Public Protector over the corruption investigation into deputy president Jacob Zuma.

While saying he was "sorry about the remarks I made", Ngcuka was adamant Mushwana's report "remains totally unacceptable".

Addressing the Institute of Directors in Cape Town yesterday, Ngcuka said: "I wanted to start off by apologising to you, and through you to the people of South Africa, that I shouldn't have done that.

"It was wrong of me to do that, I let you down ... because I allowed myself to behave in the same manner as our detractors."

He also apologised on behalf of Penuell Maduna, the former Justice Minister who served as Ngcuka's political boss until recently.

However, Ngcuka quickly added: "Having said that, I want to make it equally clear - I'm going to fight that report because that report is fatally flawed. We are going to smash it to smithereens, but we'll do it correctly. When we go to parliament, we will show how flawed it is."

Ngcuka's apology came after the ruling ANC, of which he and Maduna are leading figures, slammed the trio, including Mushwana, for making "ill-considered" statements about each other.

Ngcuka and Maduna launched a scathing attack on Mushwana over the weekend, describing the Public Protector on SABC TV as having "no backbone".

Mushwana in turn said he would be seeking legal advice on whether he could lay criminal charges against the two for attacking the integrity of his office.

In a statement following a meeting of its NWC on Monday, the ANC "called on all involved to act in a manner befitting their position, and to exercise due respect for these important institutions of state".

The attack by Ngcuka and Maduna on Mushwana came after he released a report on his investigation into Zuma's complaint that Ngcuka had abused his office by stating publicly last year there was a "prima facie" case of corruption against the deputy president.

Mushwana last week urged parliament to take urgent steps against Ngcuka for, among other things, infringing on Zuma's constitutional right to human dignity and causing him to be improperly prejudiced.

Ngcuka said both he and Maduna would approach parliament to tell their side of the story once a committee had been set up to deal with Mushwana's report.

"We are waiting for the committee to be set up and as soon as it's been set up we'll then get in touch with them and say we want to come to parliament."

He declined to elaborate on why the report was "fatally flawed".

With acknowledgements to Jeremy Michaels and the Cape Times.