Cabinet backs Simelane

2009-12-03 17:51

Cape Town - Cabinet on Thursday said it had full confidence in controversial new National Director of Public Prosecutions Menzi Simelane and took a swipe at "unfortunate" media reports criticising his appointment.

It welcomed Justice Minister Jeff Radebe's defence of Simelane's appointment this week, when the minister rejected the Public Service Commission's (PSC) call that he face disciplinary procedures.

"The timeous response and intervention by the minister of justice and constitutional development on the unfortunate media reports around the appointment of the director of the National Directorate of the Public Prosecutions (NDPP) was welcomed.

"Government wishes to reiterate its confidence in the NDPP to carry out his responsibilities," the government said in a statement following the last Cabinet meeting of the year.

Simelane's appointment met with an outcry from the opposition and legal fraternity, who questioned whether he was fit to hold the position.

Simelane was accused by the Ginwala inquiry into former prosecutions boss Vusi Pikoli's fitness to hold office, of interfering with the independence of the National Prosecuting Authority.

This stemmed from a letter he drafted in 2007, on behalf of then justice minister Brigitte Mabandla, in which Pikoli was advised to stop the arrest of then national police commissioner Jackie Selebi.

But Radebe said the PSC's failure to make a recommendation on the basis of former speaker Frene Ginwala's report without hearing evidence from Simelane was a fatal flaw, and had violated his rights.