News24

Simelane fit for office - Radebe

2009-11-30 15:00

Cape Town - Justice Minister Jeff Radebe on Monday criticised the Ginwala inquiry for its "attack" on new NPA head Menzi Simelane and the Public Service Commission (PSC) for failing to allow Simelane to state his case.

Briefing the media, Radebe said the PSC report on Simelane's conduct before the Ginwala inquiry did not provide Simelane with an opportunity to explain or respond to the allegations against him.

His response, subsequently submitted by Radebe to the PSC, was also not taken into account by the PSC, which stuck with its original report.

This meant he could not rely on the PSC report in considering whether disciplinary action should be taken against Simelane, Radebe said.

The attack by the Ginwala inquiry on Simelane's credibility because he had allegedly not disclosed a letter by former justice minister Brigitte Mabandla to former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Vusi Pikoli, and therefore made a misrepresentation to the inquiry, was also without foundation.

The inquiry was already in possession of the letter before Simelane gave evidence, and it was therefore not misled by his evidence.

It should have called Mabandla if it had any queries regarding the letter, but failed to call her as a witness, Radebe said.

Common human experience

During Simelane's evidence, he initially denied having obtained a legal opinion regarding the Pikoli issue.

He later corrected himself that the legal opinion covered this issue in addition to a variety of other issues.

"This is a common human experience in a court of law that a witness would correct him or herself," Radebe said.

Such a correction did not necessarily justify a conclusion that a witness was lying when he corrected himself.

Ginwala's finding that Simelane had no role to play regarding the NPA was also not correct in law and this had been confirmed by a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling, Radebe said.