The DA's theory of an ulterior motive in the
appointment of Menzi Simelane as National Director of
Public Prosecutions was "simply nonsense", counsel for
President Jacob Zuma argued on Tuesday.
Zuma, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe and Simelane are
opposing the Democratic Alliance's application in the
High Court in Pretoria to set aside Simelane's
appointment on the basis that it was irrational,
unconstitutional and unlawful.
Counsel for the president, Nazeer Cassim SC, said the
DA's theory that Simelane's predecessor Vusi Pikoli was
fired because he wanted to prosecute former police
commissioner Jackie Selebi was "frivolous" and "simply
He said nothing could be read into the fact that Pikoli
was given a golden handshake of R7.5 million following a
settlement of his court application for his
Cassim dismissed the DA's claims that Simelane was not a
fit and proper person for the post, arguing that
Simelane had the necessary legal qualifications and that
no court of law or any other responsible authority had
ever found him not to be fit and proper.
He argued that the decision not to take disciplinary
steps against Simelane as recommended by the Public
Service Commission was Radebe's decision, to which Zuma
"The allegations made by the Ginwala Enquiry [into
Pikoli's fitness to hold office] are untested and remain
"It would be unfair to elevate such allegations into
findings of fact.
"... the president acted within the powers vested in him
by the law and appointed Mr Simelane whom the president
considered has value to add and would fulfil the
functions of the NDPP.
"That the DA is unhappy with this appointment or
considers that other more qualified and able persons
have been overlooked does not suffice, we submit, under
the principle of legality to set aside a decision vested
in the president.
"... the president, as part of his executive powers, is
at liberty to appoint any individual he considers has
the appropriate experience, is conscientious and
possesses the elements of integrity to be entrusted with
the responsibility of the office of the NDPP.
"... the people of South Africa elected the president
and thereby vested their belief in the president's
ability to appoint the NDPP whom he considered possessed
the qualities to enable the office of the NDPP at this
time of our history to fulfil the objectives of the
"We submit the president acted within the confines of
the law and he is not answerable for his own value
system when making the appointment of the NDPP," Cassim
Counsel for the Justice Minister, Marumo Moerane SC,
said the DA's obsession with Simelane's evidence at the
Ginwala Enquiry was "a red herring" because Radebe had
made it abundantly clear that the findings and
recommendations of that enquiry were discussed at great
length with Zuma.
He said the DA's theory about an improper motive for
Simelane's appointment was a "threadbare theory" for
which there was absolutely no basis in the real world.
The allegation that former president Thabo Mbeki had
interfered in the prosecution of Selebi and tried to
protect him was something the DA had "sucked out of the
air" and was a lie it had propagated so often that they
believed it to be true, he added.
"The prosecution of Selebi went ahead, despite the
removal of Pikoli.
"The allegation is that Simelane was appointed to avoid
the prosecution of President Zuma, but that decision was
taken by [former acting prosecutions chief] Mokotedi
Mpshe and therefore the whole theory collapses," Moerane
He submitted that the application was not a re-run of
the Ginwala Enquiry, despite the DA's effort or relying,
out of context and selectively, on the findings of the
He said it was clear to the minister that the
termination of Pikoli's term as NDPP continued to rule
the DA and that nothing could be said to placate it on
"... there is no intention of the part of government to
exert improper pressure on the NDPP, or to interfere
with the prosecution process or in prosecution decisions
as implied by the applicant, as by so doing, the clear
directives, principles and values of the Constitution,
as well as the oath of office taken by him [Radebe]
would be violated.
"With all due respect to the applicant, and however well
meaning it may be, it can hardly contend that it
represents the majority view in charging that Simelane
is not sufficiently experienced, or that he does not
have the conscientiousness and integrity to hold the
office of NDPP.
"... the majority of the members of Parliament had no
reservations regarding the termination of Pikoli's
contract and the appointment of Simelane as his
successor," he argued.
With acknowledgements to
and Independent Online.
The DA's theory is
Simelane is simply there as the gatekeeper to ensure the
Zuma, Mbeki, Mandela, et al never fall foul of actual
Mpshe was the then gatekeeper. He did his job.
The ANC governments know their business well. Once the
deployed cadre comrade his duty, he gets put out to
pasture, usually with an excellent golden handshake.