Court not employment agency - Simelane

2010-09-15 22:07

Pretoria - National Director of Public Prosecutions Menzi Simelane has accused the Democratic Alliance of trying to turn the High Court into an employment agency.

Counsel for Simelane, David Unterhalter SC, on Wednesday asked the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to dismiss the DA's application to set aside President Jacob Zuma's November 2009 decision to appoint Simelane.

He submitted that the NDPP was a political appointment that rested with the president, which by its very nature had a discretionary feature.

He said the DA's requirement for the post amounted to a form of moral rigour.

"Not everybody is a Sir Thomas More and if that is the standard that is required, it would mean that very few people would qualify for the post.

"People don't generally meet those sorts of standards," he said referring to the English statesperson who is regarded as a martyr by the Roman Catholic Church after being beheaded on a charge of treason in the 1500s.

Unterhalter argued that the judgement required from the president was not as clear cut as the DA was suggesting, but involved a complex and textured value judgement about the potential and characteristics of a candidate and how he would interact with members of Cabinet, who were political appointees.

NDPP not independent

The NDPP was not just an independent satellite. One could not work effectively in the office if one could not work with the National Intelligence Agency, the head of police and Cabinet Ministers.

What the DA was suggesting, he said, was that anyone who was unhappy with the president's decisions could come to court and ask the court to see if the president got it right or wrong.

This would result in the court becoming an arbiter of whether a person was right for the job, which would turn the court into an employment agency, he said.

"Executive government is a tough, difficult environment... You need someone who can survive in that environment," he said.

Unterhalter argued that significant errors were sometimes made in such an environment and to require someone who never erred was impossible to achieve.

Unterhalter accused the DA of reaching far-fetched and unfounded conclusions that Simelane had tried to mislead the Ginwala Enquiry into his predecessor Vusi Pikoli's fitness for office and had fabricated an accusation of dishonesty against Pikoli.

Irrational decision

The DA contends Simelane was not a fit and proper person for the position and that the process followed to appoint him was irrational, resulting in an arbitrary and irrational decision to which Zuma failed properly to apply his mind.

It also contends that the appointment was made for an improper ulterior motive, namely to install an NDPP who was thought to be malleable to the executive's wishes.

Simelane's appointment followed after Pikoli's much publicised dismissal, despite a recommendation by the Ginwala Commission that he should be reinstated.

The Ginwala Commission also strongly criticised Simelane's conduct and the Public Service Commission later recommended disciplinary action against Simelane.

Simelane was appointed days after the government and Pikoli reached a settlement in terms of which Pikoli withdrew his application for reinstatement and was paid R7.5m, followed by Justice Minister Jeff Radebe's decision not to take any disciplinary steps against Simelane.

Judge Pieter van der Byl reserved judgement in the application.

Read more on:    da  |  ndpp  |  jeff radebe  |  jacob zuma  |  vusi pikoli  |  menzi simelane

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!


I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go! - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


Any chance to explore the distant shores of things yet to be found will fascinate you. The challenge is dealing with the more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.