NDPP bosses not open about Zim torture case

2012-03-27 17:55

Pretoria - A national prosecuting authority official said the body was not open about why it wouldn't go ahead on a case involving a raid of Zimbabwean opposition offices in South Africa, the Pretoria News reported on Tuesday.

National Directorate of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) crimes litigation unit head Anton Ackermann made the claim in an affidavit handed to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, the newspaper reported.

High-ranking Zimbabwean officials reportedly raided the headquarters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in South Africa in 2007 and allegedly tortured its officials.

The Southern African Litigation Centre and Zimbabwean Exiles Forum have asked the court to review and set aside the NDPP and SA Police Service's decision not to investigate the Zimbabwean officials linked to the alleged tortures.

Disagreement with police

They want an order compelling the NDPP to investigate and prosecute the Zimbabwean officials.

In his affidavit, Ackermann, who is a respondent in the case, reportedly said he encouraged an investigation into the torture allegations.

He had disagreed with the police's reasons for not pursuing the case, and that he had been "manipulated and misled" by his colleagues in the NDPP.

According to the newspaper, Ackermann said a deputy prosecutor in his unit, Christopher Macadam, had failed to bring these facts to the court's attention.

Macadam was the NDPP's counsel in the case, but his services have since been terminated.

Ackermann said he made the affidavit when it became clear to him that his version of the facts and the reasons for his decisions in this matter would differ from those of the NDPP.

The Pretoria News reported that he asked to be separately represented in the matter, but that his bosses refused.

Simelane involved

Ackermann said Macadam told him he had no role to play in the issues before the court, and that he had to seriously consider the implications of including a statement in which he said he was not satisfied with the reasons given by the police.

Ackermann said he was told action would be taken against him if he advanced his affidavit.

The Mail & Guardian reported that NDPP head Menzi Simelane, who is on special leave, appeared to be at the centre of the attempt to stop the prosecution of the Zimbabwean officials.

Simelane was placed on special leave by President Jacob Zuma in December after the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that his appointment was "inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid".

The weekly newspaper reported that Ackermann's affidavit singled out Simelane as being behind the attempt to stop him from telling the court how his attempt to have the Zimbabwean officials investigated was hindered.