All Simelane decisions 'now invalid'

2011-12-01 18:23
Cape Town - All decisions Menzi Simelane took as head of public prosecutions have been rendered invalid by the appeal court ruling setting aside his appointment, according to constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos.

"All decisions he has taken have now become invalid," De Vos told Sapa on Thursday after studying the Supreme Court of Appeal judgment.

"This would apply to decisions to prosecute and decisions not to prosecute, and also to matters like the arms deal investigation."

De Vos said most decisions taken by the National Prosecuting Authority on whether to proceed with criminal charges would have been taken by prosecutors or deputy directors of public prosecutions.

However, in those cases where Simelane took the responsibility upon himself, the consequences could now prove dramatic.

Vacate post

The judgment means Simelane must vacate his post, even pending an appeal, and the presidency would have to appoint an acting national director of public prosecutions, De Vos said.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj could not immediately be reached for comment, nor could Simelane.

De Vos predicted that the executive would challenge the appeal court ruling in the Constitutional Court, but added that it was hard to see how another court could disagree with the legal basis for the finding.

"It is a very sound judgment. You never know what somebody might put forward as an argument. They [the Constitutional Court bench] might interpret the facts differently, but I would be shocked if on the legal points they came to a different conclusion."

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