Hofmeyr ‘could become ANC victim’
Political team, Die Burger
Cape Town - Tension and distrust between advocate Menzi Simelane and Willie Hofmeyr has apparently reached breaking point and will be brought to a head at a meeting with the justice minister.
Justice Minister Jeff Radebe’s spokesperson Tlali Tlali confirmed on Tuesday that a meeting had been set to prevent this discord from harming the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
Simelane, national director of public prosecutions, and Hofmeyr, the head of the NPA’s asset forfeiture unit, have never seen eye to eye.
Their relationship deteriorated further when Simelane started to restructure the NPA’s speciality units.
The tension increased after revelations that the Hawks, the police’s elite investigations unit, was investigating another charge of corruption against Hofmeyr.
The first charge relates to the alleged contravention of acquisition procedures, and a decision on the matter is pending.
The second relates to a plea bargain agreement that the NPA made in 2009 with controversial businessman Dave King.
King, who was accused of tax evasion, claimed in an open letter on Tuesday that Hofmeyr had misused his power by demanding that King either pay R200m to the asset forfeiture unit or admit guilt to serious charges of fraud.
“I was shocked when Hofmeyr put these demands to me. When I refused, the plea agreement fell away. I realise these are serious allegations I’m making against Hofmeyr but I’m on record as saying this. Let him deny it. He knows he can’t.”
Hofmeyr on Tuesday maintained he had done nothing wrong and that a senior advocate agreed with him that there were no merits to King’s charge.
Several sources were informed on Tuesday that political pressure to remove Hofmeyr was increasing as the asset forfeiture unit and the special investigating unit - of which he was also the head - implicated highly-placed individuals.
Simelane is the one tasked with neutralising Hofmeyr. The outcome of certain investigations could damage influential politicians’ careers and this had to be prevented, explained a senior figure of authority.
According to him, it was clear to officials that the NPA was also being used as a place to decide ANC faction fights. “Hofmeyr comes from the ANC but he could become an ANC victim.”