Why the SIU axed Davids

2011-08-27 18:15

The deputy head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) was fired from his job for allegedly backing former president Thabo Mbeki for ANC president.

City Press can reveal that the only reason Faiek Davids was fired from the unit by SIU boss Willie Hofmeyr was because of an alleged telephone discussion he had with former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy about the ANC’s leadership battle.

Hofmeyr claims the discussion formed part of the so-called Zuma tapes that led to corruption charges being dropped against President Jacob Zuma shortly before the 2009 general election.

However, the discussion was not included in transcripts of taped conversations released to the media in 2009.

Davids denies that he had such a discussion with McCarthy and claims the recordings were illegal interceptions of McCarthy’s phone by the police as part of a strategy to counter the Scorpions’ investigation of former police boss Jackie Selebi.

Zuma’s lawyer, Michael Hulley, procured the recording and provided it to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Davids this week challenged his dismissal from the unit at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

The CCMA heard arguments about the legality of using the alleged recording of the conversation in Davids’ hearing.

Hofmeyr is not in possession of the recording and the SIU solely relies on notes taken by him and top NPA official Sibongile Mzinyathi of the alleged conversation.

Hofmeyr was not allowed to ­divulge the contents of the alleged conversation between Davids and McCarthy this week, but the SIU’s case against Davids is contained in its statement of defence, a copy of which is in the possession of City Press.

According to this document, Hofmeyr and Mzinyathi were asked by former acting NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe to listen to recordings in the possession of Hulley.

Included in the recordings was an alleged conversation between Davids and McCarthy “in which Davids recounted a confidential conversation between himself, Hofmeyr and (former NPA boss) Bulelani Ngcuka that occurred at the East London airport on ­December 15 2007”.

In the conversation “Ngcuka said that it was imperative for the leaders of state institutions such as the SIU to assist former president Mbeki in his factional battle for the leadership of the ANC with President Zuma”.

Hofmeyr claims to have said it was “improper for senior managers in state institutions such as the SIU and NPA to take sides in the factional battles within the ruling party, but that they should remain and seen to be remaining impartial and independent of those battles”.

In documents before the ­CCMA, Davids admits meeting Ngcuka and Hofmeyr at the East London airport, but says he was “briefly” in their company and then left “while they conversed”.

In the taped telephone conversation Hofmeyr and Mzinyathi listened to, Davids allegedly told McCarthy, after the East London discussion, he “agreed with the view of Ngcuka and McCarthy that those in charge of state institutions had a duty to use those institutions to assist president Mbeki to be re-elected as ANC president, and that it was virtually treason to support one of president Mbeki’s opponents”.

Davids, according to Hofmeyr, also said he did not understand how the SIU could remain impartial and that it was important for the SIU to support Mbeki.

“He (Davids) accused Hofmeyr of being disloyal because he did not want to use the SIU to support president Mbeki’s bid to retain the leadership of the ANC, and that Hofmeyr’s neutrality showed that he had switched to the Zuma camp.”

Davids’ advocate, Ronald Sutherland SC, told the CCMA this week his client disputed that such a recording existed and that he said these things to McCarthy.

In a direct swipe at Hofmeyr, Ngcuka told City Press yesterday: “It has become highly fashionable for anyone who wants to ingratiate himself with the Zuma administration to peddle lies about me.”

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