Plot ‘to protect Mbeki’

2015-04-01 00:00

TWO days after former president Thabo Mbeki was bested at Polokwane, advocate Leonard McCarthy, then head of the Scorpions, told him: “You will always remain my president”.

This is one of the revelations from Willie Hofmeyr, the deputy head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in a sworn affidavit that was handed to the Pretoria high court yesterday.

Hofmeyr was reacting on behalf of the NPA to the DA’s court case over the so-called spy tapes, on which the NPA’s decision not to prosecute President Jacob Zuma for corruption was founded.

It was the first time that Hofmeyr, who was directly involved in the investigation, gave his side of the story.

In his 154-page statement, he goes into detail about precisely how McCarthy and advocate Bulelani Ngcuka, a former NPA head, abused the Scorpions to protect Mbeki.

According to Hofmeyr, this politicking took place via then intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils as a go-between with McCarthy.

Before and after the ANC’s Polokwane congress, McCarthy met with Kasrils at several “critical moments”. It was clear that McCarthy strongly identified with Mbeki’s political aspirations and was prepared to discuss sensitive investigations and obtain “direction”, Hofmeyr wrote.

Ngcuka worked with McCarthy to manipulate the timeline of the Zuma investigation to give Mbeki an advantage in the ANC leadership battle.

In discussions between McCarthy and Ngcuka, reference is made to “the man” — Mbeki — and “the guy” — Kasrils — Hofmeyr said.

Hofmeyr alleged that McCarthy tried to persuade him and other colleagues to pledge with him to delay Zuma’s prosecution. “He said it was our duty, as senior civil servants, to stand by Mbeki. In other words, we had to do everything in our power to ensure that Mbeki was successful at Polokwane.

“I told McCarthy it was our duty in the NPA to remain independent.

“I then realised that McCarthy would protect Mbeki, it didn’t matter at what cost to the NPA,” he said.

On December 19, 2007, two days after Mbeki was beaten to the ANC presidency by Zuma, Mbeki and McCarthy spoke on the phone.

“McCarthy told Mbeki he would always remain his president, a remark that was completely inappropriate for a civil servant, even more so for a senior prosecutor. By the tone of the conversation it was clear McCarthy and Mbeki knew each other well.”

It was not the first time that McCarthy and Ngcuka made politically motivated decisions to Mbeki’s advantage, he said.

The two influenced at least two other “high-profile cases”, which Hofmeyr declined to detail, to protect Mbeki.

Hofmeyr said the political interference in the Zuma case amounted to the abuse of power and the court must deny the DA request with costs.

The DA said the court papers change nothing because they give no substantive reason why the charges were dropped. The party will continue with its case to have the decision overturned, it said.

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