‘Court orders must be obeyed’, but mum on spy tapes

2014-07-03 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Court orders have to be obeyed by everyone, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Mike Masutha said yesterday.

In his first speech in Parliament, the newly elected Masutha said everyone was subject to the law and the Constitution, and lambasted people who did not ­respect, or who ignored court orders because, for example, someone’s ego got a bit dented.

He said government officials were not elected to advance their own interests, but to serve.

“Our daily activities have to reflect this,” he said.

This statement got a quick reaction from the opposition bench, with DA MP James Selfe asking what about the National Prosecution Authority (NPA), which has to date not heeded two court orders to hand over the so-called spy tapes to the DA.

He said the DA had for more than five years been battling in courts to get access to the contentious tapes. It was based on these tapes that then acting NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe had ordered the corruption charges against Jacob Zuma to be withdrawn in 2009.

Masutha replied to Selfe that he would have to get the facts on the matter and determine what the issues really were before he could be expected to comment on the matter.

He said the most dangerous thing a politician could do was to comment on an issue without pulling the proverbial files.

Selfe told sister paper Beeld the minister’s initial comment was very encouraging but it was now a waiting game to see if the NPA will practise what Masutha preached and hand over the spy tapes.

About the current internal struggles in the NPA, Masutha said these had to end.

There is concern about the stability of the NPA after its head, Mxolisi Nxa­sana, was last month asked by Masutha’s predecessor, Jeff Radebe, to resign.

There are also serious allegations about political interference in the NPA.

Nxasana refused to resign and the case has been referred to Zuma.

Masutha said finalising the Nxasana issue is his top priority and the first step to solve the greater management problem in the NPA.

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