Last round for Simelane in ConCourt

2012-05-07 22:11
Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court will hear an application on Tuesday on whether the appointment of Menzi Simelane as the country's chief prosecutor was valid.

The challenge has been driven by the Democratic Alliance since 2009.

It contends he is unsuitable for the post of national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) in view of, among other things, comments he made to the Ginwala Commission of Inquiry.

The DA also cites a Public Service Commission recommendation that a disciplinary inquiry be held against Simelane, and an investigation against him by the General Council of the Bar.

At the time of the Ginwala Inquiry in 2008, Simelane said he did not believe the NPA was independent in terms of the Constitution and that it was accountable to the director general of justice - himself at the time.

Fatal errors

That inquiry was to determine whether Simelane's predecessor Vusi Pikoli was fit to hold office.

This came after he disagreed with former president Thabo Mbeki's request to hold off on executing an arrest warrant against now jailed national police commissioner Jackie Selebi.

The DA first challenged Simelane's appointment as NDPP in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, but lost.

That court ruled that Simelane had stated he believed in the independence of the NDPP and had taken an oath to protect the Constitution.

Whether he would keep to it, would show in time, the court ruled, adding that President Jacob Zuma's decision to appoint him should stand.

However, on appeal, the Supreme Court of Appeal reversed that decision on December 1, saying both Zuma and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe had made fatal errors in law.

The SCA found that there were pertinent outstanding questions that went directly to Simelane's integrity and that Zuma could not have satisfied himself that Simelane was a "fit and proper" person for the job, as required by the National Prosecuting Act.

Irrational decision

The president's decision was found to be irrational, inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid.

The DA applied to the Constitutional Court for confirmation of the order of invalidity.

Zuma placed Simelane on special leave pending the outcome of Tuesday's hearing.

The justice minister and Simelane oppose the confirmation and want to appeal against the findings of the SCA.

The president decided not to oppose the confirmation.

The minister of justice's legal team is expected to argue that it is impossible to conclude that Simelane is not a fit and proper person for the job, that the decision of the SCA interferes with powers granted to the president alone and that the decision violates the separation of powers.

He argues that the decision is not irrational and that allegations of ulterior purpose are unwarranted.

Simelane contends that the president's decision can only be reviewed on narrow grounds of rationality and legality, neither of which has been established, and that the SCA erred in holding that the president's decision had to be reasonable and procedurally fair.
Read more on:    menzi simelane

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Partner Content
Travel Dreams? Where would you rather be right now?

Partnered: Whether you're missing family overseas, dreaming of family adventures or romantic hideaways we all have that one place we'd rather be right now - but have you thought about the best way to get there?


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
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.