Heath's attitude to judiciary 'risky'

2011-12-06 18:35
Cape Town - Special Investigating Unit head Willem Heath's "controversial attitude" towards the judiciary is too risky for his position, Cope said on Tuesday.

"In a position of this nature we need a person who is independent and not partisan," Congress of the People parliamentary leader Mosiuoa Lekota said.

Heath's questioning of the judiciary without providing tested evidence was risky in a position of such power, he said.

In an interview with the City Press on Sunday, Heath was quoted saying that former president Thabo Mbeki had "dictated" to the National Prosecuting Authority in President Jacob Zuma's rape and corruption trial five years ago. Zuma was acquitted of rape in 2006.

Corruption charges against him were dropped in 2009.

Heath was quoted saying that Judge Hilary Squires's judgment in the Schabir Shaik corruption trial was flawed as there wasn't sufficient evidence to convict him. Shaik was Zuma's financial adviser.

"Whatever so called information or evidence advocate Heath relies upon to question the findings of the courts is irrelevant until it has been tested under cross-examination," Lekota said.

Zuma appointed Heath last Tuesday to replace Willie Hofmeyr as SIU head. Hofmeyr now only heads the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

Heath was first appointed by former president Nelson Mandela in 1996 to establish the SIU. He resigned in 2001 after the Constitutional Court found that a sitting judge could not head a long-term investigating unit.

Read more on:    afu  |  cope  |  siu  |  mosiuoa le­kota  |  willem heath  |  judiciary  |  politics

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