Publication: News24 Issued: Date: 2004-05-28 Reporter: Tisha Steyn Reporter: Sapa

Jacob Zuma Feels 'Vindicated'




Date 2004-05-28


Tisha Steyn, Sapa

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Johannesburg - Deputy President Jacob Zuma on Friday welcomed public protector Lawrence Mushwana's report on the complaint he lodged against national director of public prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka, saying he felt "vindicated".

In the report, released on Friday, Mushwana found it was "unfair and improper" to say publicly there was a prima facie case of corruption against Zuma, but that he would not be prosecuted.

Mushwana said in the report a public statement by Ngcuka had impaired Zuma's dignity and improperly prejudiced him.

Ngcuka issued a media statement in August 2003 saying there was a prima facie case of corruption against Zuma over the multibillion-rand arms deal, but he would not prosecute him as the chances of success were not strong enough.

Much public debate and media speculation about Zuma's possible corrupt involvement in the defence force's arms procurement followed.

Zuma then complained to the public protector about Ngcuka's remark and about:

Mushwana also found that Ngcuka and former justice minister Penuell Maduna had failed to co-operate with his (Mushwana's) investigation.

Maduna and Ngcuka repeatedly said the subject matter of Zuma's complaint was sub judice - a claim Mushwana dismissed. He said their refusal to co-operate was "improper and unconstitutional".

Mushwana also found that Ngcuka and Maduna had probably not informed Zuma of the investigation as claimed.

Since Maduna was no longer in the cabinet, no action against him was recommended.

The public protector recommended that parliament take urgent steps to hold Ngcuka responsible for his "unfair and improper" behaviour towards Zuma and his failure to cooperate with Mushwana's investigation.

A statement issued by the presidency later on Friday said Zuma felt "vindicated by the report, which has confirmed his contention that the national directorate for public prosecutions violated his constitutional rights".

"While he is still to study the report in detail, he is satisfied with the general findings," the presidency said.

Zuma was disappointed, however, that some aspects of his complaint were not dealt with due to the failure of Ngcuka and Maduna to co-operate with Mushwana and provide answers.

"The deputy president is particularly pleased with the finding that the press statement by the national director on August 23 2003, that there was a prima facie case of corruption against him, but that he would not prosecute, unjustifiably infringed upon his constitutional right to human dignity and that it was unfair and improper."

With acknowledgements to Tisha Steyn, Sapa and News24.