Toxic influence

2009-04-09 00:00

A disturbing feature of the saga which led to the dropping of the charges against Jacob Zuma is the way in which rivalry within the ANC has undermined essential organs of the state. The reasons given by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for its decision to withdraw the charges make this abundantly clear. It had nothing to do with the merits of the case and everything to do with an attempted manipulation of the judicial process for purely party-political reasons. Leonard McCarthy, then director of the Scorpions, and Bulelani Ncguka, former director of the NPA, according to taped telephone conversations between them, wanted a new set of charges to be laid against Zuma before the ANC’s Polokwane conference in December 2007 in the hope that this would assist in securing Thabo Mbeki’s re-election as ANC president.

The political fall-out within the ANC at Polokwane and afterwards was the kind of development to be expected sometimes in the rough-and-tumble of party politics. What is not acceptable and deeply endangers the wellbeing of the country is when rivalry of this sort begins to infect state institutions, the hallmark of which should be one of independence. With stark clarity this is what has emerged within the NPA where, so it is claimed, political conspiracy has poisoned its operations. This in turn raises the probing question: where does the NPA’s independence end and party-political allegiance begin? The same question arises in the current controversy between John Hlope, president of the Cape High Court, and the judges of the Constitutional Court. His alleged attempt to influence two Concourt judges to support an appeal being made by Zuma’s lawyers lies at the heart of the matter.

A major part of the problem is that the ANC government has too often placed its own supporters into positions of responsibility in institutions of the state. How can the necessary integrity and impartiality of such institutions be maintained in these circumstances?

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.