Publication: Cape Times Issued: Date: 2009-11-26 Reporter: Karyn Maughan Reporter: Gaye Davis

Outrage over NPA boss



Cape Times



Reporter Karyn Maughan, Gaye Davis
Web Link

Zuma's choice of 'arrogant' and 'condescending' simelane slammed

Menzi Simelane has been described as "arrogant", "condescending" and guilty of misconceptions about the functioning of the Justice Department he formerly headed.

But President Jacob Zuma is adamant that 39-year-old Simelane is
the perfect man to head the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) - an organisation whose former head, Vusi Pikoli, he fought to oust from office.

NPA spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga sought yesterday to dispel what he claimed were negative "perceptions" about the NPA staff's almost
universal disdain for Simelane, who until recently was under investigation by the Public Service Commission for his "highly irregular" conduct in the Ginwala Inquiry.

"It's a perception that people in the NPA hate him ... We like him, we welcome him," he said.

Asked if Simelane had plans to reverse any of the decisions made during Pikoli's tenure, Mhaga answered: "All decisions taken will be above board."

While acknowledging that Simelane had been vocal in his criticism of the NPA to the Ginwala Inquiry, Mhaga insisted that this animosity was water under the bridge.

Mhaga's comments are in
stark contrast to those made by the NPA staff.

All expressed shock at Simelane's appointment, which they say they saw as the beginning of the demise of any prosecutorial independence that had existed in the NPA.

"(Simelane) is a government yes-man," one senior prosecutor said.

Opposition parties expressed outrage at the appointment yesterday.

DA justice spokeswoman Dene Smuts MP and ID leader Patricia de Lille described the choice of Simelane as "shocking", with De Lille describing him as "arrogant".

"It is difficult to imagine a more inappropriate choice," Smuts said.

Zuma insisted yesterday he was confident that Simelane would make the NPA's "independence and vigour" his "utmost priority".

Simelane's experience as the Justice Department's administrative head "and in the legal fraternity provides him with the necessary skills and capacity to perform his functions efficiently and effectively", said Zuma.

The Presidency statement referred only briefly to the Public Service Commission's investigation into Simelane, saying that Justice Minister Jeff Radebe had "decided not to proceed with disciplinary hearings against Advocate Simelane".

This investigation was initiated by then-justice minister Enver Surty after Frene Ginwala, who found Pikoli was fit and proper to hold office, strongly suggested that Simelane had unlawfully interfered with "the prosecutorial independence of the NPA, which is recognised as
a serious offence".

Ginwala's criticisms of Simelane also included:

That it was "probable" any differences between Pikoli and then-justice minister Brigitte Mabandla had been "precipitated by the director-general of justice's misconception of his authority over the NPA".

His conduct in the Ginwala Inquiry - including his "inaccurate" and "contradictory evidence" that was sometimes "without basis in fact of law" - "left much to be desired".

He "did not heed the legal advice he had sought and received, and continued to assert powers he did not have". He then "attempted to suppress the disclosure of the information" relating to his then position as DG and its relationship with the NPA. Ginwala found this behaviour was "irregular".

His attitude towards Pikoli was "arrogant and condescending".

He had made a number of "spurious" claims aimed at getting Pikoli fired, which he was later forced to retract. Ginwala got the impression he "must have intended to throw a wide net to try to make something stick on Adv Pikoli".

This "further reflects (Simelane's) disregard and lack of appreciation and respect for the import for an inquiry established by the president".

This year, Simelane also came under fire from the NPA over "discrepancies" in his account of the services available to child rape victims.

The NPA suggested Simelane was painting an inaccurately rosy picture of the chronic lack of trained intermediaries available to assist child rape victims - who, in 86 percent of South Africa's courts, are forced to confront their abusers face-to-face and unassisted. While Justice director-general Simelane admitted in a report to the Constitutional Court that the department had only half the 305 intermediaries it needed, the NPA strongly suggested that the situation in the courts might be even more dire.

In July this year, the Law Society slammed Simelane's claims to the Concourt that government owed only R3.5 million to citizens who have successfully sued the state as "defective" and "out by many millions of rands".

n 2008, the DA took Simelane to task over his department's refusal to release documents pertaining to a request by German prosecutors for assistance in their investigations into the arms deal. Simelane was also vocal in his calls for the Directorate of Special Operations (Scorpions) to be disbanded. *1

He yesterday declined to comment on his plans for the NPA.

With acknowledgements to Karyn Maughan, Gaye Davis and Cape Times.

*1       And this, dear readers, is the sole reason why Menzi Simelane is the new National Director of Public Prosecutions.

And he didn't only interfere in the German investigation, he actually not only interfered in the British investigation, he flew to the UK to try to persuade the SFO to abandon its investigation.

This person has been put there to protect two people from repercussions of the Arms Deal investigations (which are ongoing), Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma *2.

*2      And don't come with the bullshit that these two hate each other.

It's true, but it's irrelevant.

They are bonded by the closest bond of all - the reciprocal testicle squeeze.

By Gadfly.