Zille lambastes Zuma over NPA

2009-12-14 22:58
Cape Town - It is now clear, according to the leader of the Democratic Alliance, Helen Zille, that President Jacob Zuma has no understanding at all of the concept of the separation of powers that is central to any constitutional democracy.

Zille said on Monday that he believes that all independent institutions of the Constitution are extensions of the ANC-led government departments.

"This approach inevitably leads to the failed state – to cronyism, corruption and criminalisation of the state," a furious Zille said about a statement Zuma made in a radio interview about his appointment of Menzi Simelane as National Director of Public Prosecutions.

"There are many tragic examples of this syndrome on our continent.

"President Zuma's contempt for our Constitution is the clearest possible warning that South Africa will follow the same course unless he is stopped."

Zille's dander was up after she heard he had rejected the notion of the independence of the National Prosecuting Authority – independence that is entrenched in South Africa's Constitution.

Reports to government

She reported: "President Zuma stated this morning (Monday): 'The NPA reports to government. It's not a thing flying in the sky on its own, unconnected. And there are decisions that there would be taken which could have implications, and that's why we've got a department with a political responsibility'."

She declared that by insisting that the NPA report to the government, Zuma has demonstrated the extent of the threat that he and his administration pose to the country's constitutional democracy.

"His reported statements show that South Africa is on the brink of a constitutional crisis in which the central institutions of our Constitution are at grave risk," she said.

 She added that Zuma's radio interview also revealed that there had been a "running debate" between former National Directors of Public Prosecution and the justice department about prosecutorial independence.

"In a proper constitutional democracy this issue is not up for debate," she said.

"The complete independence of the NPA from the ruling party is entrenched in our Constitution. Tampering with this principle amounts to undermining the independence of the criminal justice system, and enabling the ruling party to abuse its power by instituting prosecutions against its political enemies and withdrawing prosecutions against its political friends.

"When justice is dispensed according to the political masters of the day, the protection of the Constitution and the law becomes meaningless.

"This is a perilous position for any country to be in. South Africans must wake up at this eleventh hour."
Read more on:    helen zille  |  jacob zuma  |  politics
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