Publication: News24 Issued: Date: 2004-05-28 Reporter: Donwald Pressly

Public Protector Raps Ngcuka




Date 2004-05-28


Donwald Pressly

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Cape Town - The public protector has rapped the national director of public prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka over the knuckles for announcing last year that deputy president Jacob Zuma would not be charged.

Ngcuka had issued a press statement on August 23 last year that there was "a prima facie case of corruption" against Zuma but that he would not be prosecuted. "This unjustifiably infringed upon Mr Zuma's constitutional right to human dignity and caused him to be improperly prejudiced", said the public protector in a statement on Friday.

The public protector Lawrence Mushwana found that the deputy president had probably not been informed by the national director of the criminal investigation against him after it commenced as was publicly claimed by the national director.

The public protector has recommended that parliament take urgent steps to ensure that the national director and the prosecuting authority "are held accountable for failing to co-operate with the public protector in the investigation of the complaint of the deputy president".

He has recommended that the ministerial co-ordinating committee "contemplated by section 31 of the National Prosecuting Authority Act of 1998" be convened as "a matter of urgency" and that it determined policy guidelines in respect of the functioning of the Directorate of Special Operations (Scorpions) "that would prevent a recurrence of the improprieties referred to in the report on the investigation".

The context of the public protector's inquiry referred to Zuma being accused of attempting to solicit a R500 000 bribe from a French company, Thales, that had bid for a piece of the multimillion-rand arms deal.

Ngcuka said that no charges would be brought against Zuma because the case was not "winnable". But he indicated that the Scorpions could reopen the case if new evidence surfaced.

With acknowledgements to Donwald Pressly and News24.