News24

Simelane faces complaint

2009-11-27 11:34

Johannesburg - A senior advocate will lay a complaint with the Bar Council against newly-appointed prosecutions boss Menzi Simelane, the Mail & Guardian reported on Friday.

Pat Ellis, SC, will submit an official complaint with the Pretoria Bar Council following Simelane's appointment earlier this week.

"I will table a memorandum before the Pretoria Bar Council on Tuesday and they will have to take it from there. The Bar Council will then decide whether to investigate Simelane and, if so, what form the investigation will take," he was quoted as saying.

Interference

The gist of his complaint will centre around a finding by former National Assembly speaker Frene Ginwala last year during an inquiry into whether ex-chief prosecutor Vusi Pikoli was fit to hold office. Simelane testified at that hearing.

Ginwala found Simelane had most likely interfered in the prosecutorial independence of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) during the fraud and corruption investigation against former police commissioner Jackie Selebi.

But President Jacob Zuma's spokesperson, Vusi Mona, said Ginwala's findings were not relevant to Simelane's appointment.

"Frene Ginwala is not the minister of justice," Mona said.

Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos has called Simelane's appointment the "darkest and most scandalous day yet in the short life of President Zuma's tenure".

Simelane was recently appointed deputy to acting NPA chief Mokotedi Mpshe.

Transfer 'unexpected'

The Mail & Guardian reported that Simelane called a meeting on October 12, two days after assuming this position, during which he addressed the members of the National Prosecuting Service. He apparently told staffers his transfer was "unexpected".

"He said he was a political animal and that it's common knowledge he is a member of the party [the African National Congress] that put the president into power," a staffer told the weekly paper.

"He said he was deployed by the party to this position and that part of his task was to implement the ANC's vision for the NPA."

About a week later, Simelane reportedly met prosecutors at the NPA's Johannesburg office and told them political interference would not be tolerated.

"But he said we should be sensitive when dealing with political cases because the NPA is also part of government," said a prosecutor who attended the meeting.