Hofmeyr decision not political - presidency

2011-11-30 20:55

Johannesburg - The presidency has rejected claims that Willie Hofmeyr's removal as Special Investigating Unit (SIU) head is politically motivated.

"The allegations are unfortunate... to read into this sinister political motive is to run ourselves under and dishearten South Africans," said spokesperson Mac Maharaj on Wednesday.

"This [appointment] was a strategic restructuring to strengthen capacity to fight crime and corruption. It was guided by a need to radically improve things."

Zuma announced the appointment of former judge Willem Heath as the new SIU head on Tuesday.

He said this would ease the pressure on Hofmeyr who headed the SIU in conjunction with his role as head of the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU).

Maharaj said Zuma and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe had been in restructuring talks for over a year on the matter.

Top team

The ever-increasing workload "would kill" Hofmeyr.

"Together, they will be in the top team of the fight against crime and corruption."

Heath headed the SIU when he was a judge in the Eastern Cape High Court.

He resigned as a judge in 2001 as a result of a Constitutional Court ruling which found that the appointment of a judge as head of the SIU was unconstitutional.

Heath currently serves as an adviser to Radebe and is the CEO of Heath Forensic Investigations.

Maharaj said: "Nobody can deny that Mr Heath has done a magnificent piece of work."

He criticised those who doubted Heath and complained that he was too close to Zuma.

"What does that mean? That when you are serving President Zuma you must be seen [as] incomplete? Mr Heath acted as a professional and when he left, South Africans felt he had done a really good job."

Asked about his relationship with Zuma, Heath said he acted in his capacity as an independent consultant when Zuma faced corruption charges in 2009.

‘My appointment is not a reward’

His research at the time concluded that the prosecution team was driven by tainted evidence and that there was no case against Zuma.

"It was in fact a chopped up case with tainted evidence," he reiterated on Wednesday.

Not long after his remarks, charges against Zuma were dropped by the National Prosecuting Authority.

"My appointment is in no way a reward or payback," said Heath.

He was looking forward to working with Hofmeyr, saying they had a good relationship.

"Having been there myself, it's impossible for anyone to hold those two positions."

Heath said he did not plan on changing anything or disrupting pending investigations.

He asked those who doubted him to give him an opportunity to demonstrate his dedication against corruption.

"I have built up... independence and integrity and have lost none of that."

Maharaj said while some might see it as a "shocking" move, Hofmeyr "fully" supported the appointment.

"He has welcomed the decision and [given] his full co-operation. I am sure that he will perform even better now that he can focus on one area."

"It was not a last minute decision but came as a result of a systematic analysis of a problem," Maharaj said.

  • Helmut - 2011-11-30 21:02

    Please welcome Zuma's new lapdog. Willie Hoffmeyer was obviously getting too close for comfort. Looks likethe carbon coopy of the Scorpions.

      Activity Bookings - 2011-11-30 21:23

      Jip, looks like everything is starting to fall in place for Zuma, "The allegations are unfortunate... to read into this sinister political motive is to run ourselves under and dishearten South Africans," said spokesperson Mac Maharaj" This is the same person who does not want to confirm or deny that he lied to the scorpions in 2001. Why should we believe him on this?

      Henry - 2011-11-30 21:56

      @Jack...."White people are willing to work together, but don’t push us, things will get ugly!! And you’ll find yourself in the river flowing into the sea..." erm...errr...erm...should I laugh or should I cry?

      Jack - 2011-11-30 22:07 decide...are you happier passing in laughter or in decide...either way…will make it happen.

      Jack - 2011-11-30 22:22

      @Henry...thought dumb to think further than your nose!!

  • velastardust - 2011-11-30 21:16

    "The allegations are unfortunate..." Out of the mouth of Mac? Who on Earth, in their right mind is going to believe anything this man says? If Zuma and his sidekick Mac are restructuring, a heavy smell of cover-up hangs in the air!

  • Peter - 2011-11-30 21:19

    Why does it need to be close to elections to get everybody in the Govt moving? The first few years after the seat is occupied, nothing happens and now, with the elections around the corner, every shelf must be dusted and all the cups washed. Elected people should be doing their utmost best from the start and not only at the end of their terms to try to secure a second term!

  • Darra - 2011-11-30 21:20

    The question of whether Zuma can even read a CV, let alone interpret one is shown by the embarrasing appointments he's made, embarassing both to himself and the people of the ANC, let alone of the country. He's now making appointments without even caring what we think or whether we think that he probably fired the guy (if you believe otherwise you also believed his pie in the sky 5 million job prediction)because he was 'indulging' in an investigation that may have been an embarassment to him..... like Maharaj? When a president loses respect for his people and what they think ..... Boy are we in tRRRRRouble!!!!

  • Salomon - 2011-11-30 21:21

    Not political?? Who do they try to fool??

      Hermann - 2011-11-30 22:03

      Of course it is not political - it is pure nepotism - if you can separate the two.

  • Polotic - 2011-11-30 21:22

    How the hell can we believe you!!! You lie, you lie, you lie....

  • Joseph - 2011-11-30 21:57

    Remember Dr Charlse Mqgoki when the DA came to power in Cape Town,if Hofmeyer issue is politically then the DA is guilt as charged when they terminated Dr Charlse Mqgoki`s contract as they used politics to remove him due to the fact that they were not comfortable in working with some one who was persived as having close ties with the ANC under the former mayor Ms Nomaidia Mfeketa.Those who are comenting against have short memory.

      velastardust - 2011-11-30 22:06

      Who is Dr Charlse Mqgoki ?

      Polotic - 2011-12-01 21:02

      Hi Joseph, there is a difference. Mqgoki was incompetent and needed to be replaced. If I remember correctly he appointed some unfortunates as consultants at great cost to the city without receiving value at all.

  • Hunter - 2011-12-01 06:10

    All decisions by politicians are political. Strange how the corrupt are now professing to be trying to fight corruption.

  • Blip - 2011-12-01 07:38

    Mac Maharaj and Jimmy Manyi both have less than ZERO credibility.

  • Cina - 2011-12-01 09:09

    Zuma is just getting all his allies in place to cover his @ss for when the sh1t hits the fan.

  • Tc - 2011-12-05 21:09

    Hey Mac, we cannot believe anything the even smells like the ANC. In this case Zuma is covering bases to protect himself and his fellow ANC plunderers, probably you included. Please, do not think that we are stupid!

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