I was not involved in Pikoli's suspension - Simelane

2015-07-14 13:05
Menzi Simelane (Alet Pretorius, Netwerk24)

Menzi Simelane (Alet Pretorius, Netwerk24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - Former national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) Menzi Simelane told his disciplinary inquiry on Tuesday he was not involved in the suspension of his predecessor at the NPA, Vusi Pikoli

Advocate Omphemetse Mooki, appearing for Simelane, asked him what prompted a letter from the then justice minister Brigitte Mabandla - which was drafted by Simelane - to Pikoli in 2007 which called on Pikoli to stop the arrest of former police commissioner Jackie Selebi

Simelane was director general at the department of justice at the time.  

"[The minister] indicated that she received a letter from the president, and to respond she needed information from the NDPP. She first wanted an opportunity to report to the president," Simelane said. 

'Nothing be done'

He said this was why she asked that "nothing be done" in the case against Selebi.

In a high court affidavit by Pikoli, he said he was told by the minister that he needed to resign because of a breakdown in trust, and he refused. 

Pikoli then met with then President Thabo Mbeki, who told him that he was suspending him because he was disappointed in the witness immunities and plea bargains that were made. Pikoli said this was possibly in relation to the Selebi investigation. 

Mooki asked Simelane if he was a part of Pikoli's meetings with the minister or the president, or involved in the preparation of Pikoli's suspension letter, to which he replied "no". 

In an affidavit by former president Mbeki, he said his initial letter to the minister was confidential, however he authorised the release of the letter, not because the applicant was entitled to it, but because of public interest.

In 2012, the Constitutional Court found the appointment by Zuma of Simelane as national director of public prosecutions to be invalid. 

Simelane was appointed NPA boss in 2009.

Decision 'irrational'

The Constitutional Court found that Zuma had failed to consider evidence before him, including the findings of the Ginwala Inquiry into the conduct of then-national director of public prosecutions Pikoli and the findings of a public service commission report when appointing Simelane, rendering the president's decision "irrational".

Simelane, in his capacity as justice director general was, according to the ruling, "intimately involved" in a dispute over the proper role of the then-national director of public prosecutions, Pikoli, and the powers and duties of the justice minister. 

Pikoli was suspended by Mbeki in September 2007 after pursuing corruption charges against Selebi. On October 3, Mbeki instituted a commission of inquiry, chaired by former speaker of Parliament Frene Ginwala, into Pikoli's fitness to hold office.

Simelane had presented the government's evidence, under oath, at the commission. Ginwala subsequently criticised, "with some severity", Simelane's approach to giving evidence and its credibility.

The Bar, in its amended charges, argued that Simelane failed to disclose correspondence between the president and the minister, and the minister and Pikoli, which provided evidence that the minister sought to interfere in the prosecutorial independence of the NPA. 

This included the letter drafted by Simelane, from the minister to Pikoli. 

It also argued that the documents and facts were relevant to Pikoli's suspension, which Simelane conceded under oath, but failed to include them in government's submission to the inquiry. 

The Bar also charged that he denied obtaining a written legal opinion on his interpretation, as opposed to Pikoli's interpretation relating to the director general's powers, and only admitted to it once it became apparent that Pikoli's legal representatives were in possession of the opinion - which contradicted his own views. 

- Online comments on stories relating to this hearing have been disabled, as per an order by the disciplinary inquiry in which media houses were granted access to the hearing.

Read more on:    npa  |  jacob zuma  |  vusi pikoli  |  menzi simelane  |  johannesburg  |  ndpp

Join the conversation!

24.com 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.

24.com 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 24.com 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.