Heath blasts Mbeki
Johannesburg - New Special Investigating Unit (SIU) boss Willem Heath has accused former president Thabo Mbeki of “initiating” rape and corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma.
In a no-holds-barred interview with City Press, Heath said:
» Schabir Shaik and Tony Yengeni were “sacrificed” in the arms deal investigation;
» Mbeki “dictated” to the National Prosecuting Authority in Zuma’s rape trial and
» Judge Hilary Squires’ judgment in the Shaik corruption trial was flawed as there wasn’t sufficient evidence to convict Shaik.
Zuma was acquitted of rape in 2006.
The president controversially appointed Heath to replace Willie Hofmeyr as head of the SIU last week. Hofmeyr also heads the Asset Forfeiture Unit.
Former president Nelson Mandela appointed Heath to establish the SIU in 1996.
In 2001, Heath resigned as SIU boss after the Constitutional Court found a sitting judge could not head a long-term investigating unit.
Mbeki refused to grant Heath an early retirement and he had to resign as a judge – a decision that, according to Heath, left him a “pauper”.
He defended helping Zuma in having corruption charges against him dropped and said there were many more ANC leaders who were paid by “those with money”.
Heath also admitted making payments on behalf of slain mining boss Brett Kebble that some could interpret as “bribes”.
According to Mbeki’s spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga on Saturday, Mbeki was abroad and will return soon.
Ratshitanga said: “His (Mbeki’s) office will study the article and quotations that will be attributed to Advocate Heath and determine whether, how and when to respond.”