Why replace Hofmeyr, opposition asks

2011-11-29 22:52

Johannesburg - There was mixed reaction on Tuesday over President Jacob Zuma's replacement of Willie Hofmeyr with Willem Heath as head of the special investigating unit (SIU).

The Democratic Alliance said it was "shocked" that Hofmeyr had been replaced.

"Of great concern is the lack of reasons given for this decision," DA MP Debbie Schafer said in a statement.

"Given Hofmeyr's obviously excellent work in combating corruption in both government and elsewhere, there can be no justification for this decision."

Schafer said speculation that Hofmeyr's assistance in the public protector's investigation involving Cabinet ministers and national police commissioner General Bheki Cele hit too close to home for the ANC, could not be avoided.

Zuma announced Heath's appointment earlier on Tuesday.

He said it would ease the pressure on Hofmeyr, the Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions, who had headed the SIU in conjunction with his role as head of the asset forfeiture unit (AFU).

Heath was appointed with immediate effect.

The African National Congress welcomed Heath's appointment.

"We believe with the appointment of [former] judge Willem Heath and through his impeccable experience, the SIU will rise to the challenge of intolerance against crime and corruption," ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

The Council for Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) said it was concerned at Hofmeyr's removal as SIU head.

"Under the leadership of Hofmeyr the SIU, despite its limited mandate, became one of the key structures in the fight against corruption," Casac said in a statement.

It had noted that Zuma had a close relationship with Heath, who acted as an adviser to him when he was being investigated by the Scorpions.

"Whilst as head of the SIU he will only investigate matters that are referred to him by the president, his independent judgment will be compromised," said Casac.

It said the appointment was a set-back in the quest for a robust, fearless criminal justice sector.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), which represents about 70% of SIU employees, also welcomed the announcement.

"Mr Hofmeyr's failure to transform the agency and his indecisiveness in resolving worker issues had left our members disillusioned and feeling under siege," Nehawu said in a statement.

"Willem Heath has a lot of work ahead of him, but we want to assure him that he can count on the support and co-operation of our union, as long as worker issues are resolved and transformation is given a priority."

In September, Nehawu called on Zuma to remove Hofmeyr has the head of the SIU.

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 Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe and is the CEO of Heath Forensic Investigations.

  • Atholl - 2011-11-29 23:19

    [former] judge Willem Heath is connected to the world ... under ...

      jannie.beirowski - 2011-11-30 08:21

      WE should vote for Malema. At least he let's you know where he is being crooked and need not appoint someone to hide his corruption as Zuma does.

  • Johann - 2011-11-29 23:33

    Maybe the one is on the government (Anc) payroll and the other not.

      Gareth - 2011-11-30 00:16

      The ANC is so crooked it can see the rear of itself and thinks it is finding new species. This ANC run South Africa is beyond a joke, its like watching 3yr olds hide their mess - EVERYONE can see but they think its all neatly hidden away.

  • Rashaad Hendricks - 2011-11-29 23:42

    In goverment honest guys have no friends

      Fred - 2011-11-30 04:03

      I am beginning to question Heath's integrity. Was he not also adviser to Shaik and Zuma? He must be making lank bucks from the ANC. Smells to me.

  • Johan - 2011-11-29 23:45

    Is this not a case of: The one has principles and the other has principals?

      Gareth - 2011-11-30 00:22

      The DA actually surprises me, they really should be more upfront and just say it how it is, Zille should just come out and say in public, on the news, in the papers ..."Zuma, you and practically all the other ANC members are as corrupt and useless as is possible, in some special cases even more so. We are now beyond just mentioning our concerns politely and from here on in are appointing our own attorneys, investigators and when discovery is made will be laying charges against those that fail this country" .. Why do the mumble and groan, and throw toys and whisper under their breaths? To handle a tyrannical government takes a strong hand and it’s time to act not shout about how unhappy you are.

      Robbie - 2011-11-30 01:22

      @ Beastley Well said.

      paul.coetzee1 - 2011-11-30 08:30

      @ Beastly. Will bringing charges work? On Monday the Police Commissioner "re-deploys" all police generals in the investigation field. On Tuesday showerhead fires the head on the SIU. Coincidence? Throw in as well the fact we have had replaced: the head of prosecutions, police commissioner X2, a new chief justice and several top officers in intelligence. Whats the point of laying charges?.

  • Kevin - 2011-11-30 03:49

    Obviously Willie was doing a good job and catching the brothers. Eish ,this honesty and integrity thing gets in the way of running the country.

  • Silvana - 2011-11-30 05:57

    This government is like an overfilled porta-potti. Stinky and useless.

  • Anthony - 2011-11-30 06:02

    Scum of the earth running a country, what next?

  • Herman - 2011-11-30 06:17

    Gangsters rules! SA so going down, down, down! Screw u anc!

  • Marius Koen - 2011-11-30 06:33

    Oh Zuma, what are you up to? Always planning and scheming instead of focusing on the needs of the People. Your downfall is imminent.

  • Kevin - 2011-11-30 06:40

    Well Hofmeyer must be an honest man....given that Zooma is a felon (when is his day in court?) he is likely to only employ people who do his bidding, and who are up for a bribe for looking the other way...isn't Ufree Ka wonderful...!

  • Evildwarf - 2011-11-30 06:43

    Heath acted for and advised Kebble.

  • George - 2011-11-30 06:53

    Not long now and the news headlines will be in print "William Heath under investigation for bribes and backhands" Not long now to him selling his sole

      Albert - 2011-11-30 08:46

      Heath, White usefull idiot.political prostitute.creeper of the dark zone.

  • Larry - 2011-11-30 07:00

    Simple reason is, Hofmeyr is effective and honest. He did his jb competently without fear or favour. This did not sit well with the ruling crooks. JZ gave the job to Heath, because in the past, Heath has proven to be very flexible indeed, especially where there is money involved.

  • braamc - 2011-11-30 07:13

    Simple, we need to every tool and law in place to cover up the billions we have stolen. Filthy breed

  • Dave - 2011-11-30 07:32

    Jobs for pals to protect your ass - surpirise, surprise. Biggest thief of all sitting in the presidency. The brainless continue to pillage the coffers

  • Linda - 2011-11-30 07:46

    What the hell is going on? I get the feeling that there is something major that the government wants to keep under wraps or else they are planning something that they want to keep hidden. It makes me very very uncomfortable and extremely worried.

      Eduard - 2011-11-30 08:58

      Linda I agree with you. Does the word China and RSA the gateway to africa's economy mean anything to you?

  • Andre - 2011-11-30 07:57

    Uneducated, uniformed decision by incompetant corrupt despotes.

  • Jerhone - 2011-11-30 08:25

    The fat fart goatboy is getting all his ducks in a row, got his snake in charge in the con the people court, muzzeling the media, now he's got this hasbeen ja baas in charge of the SIU, now all he has to do is pull their strings and wala we have uncle MAD BOB reincarnated, because lets face it THAT old fart only has a couple of days left then he also has to bend over for his pineapple supository in hell everyday

  • ivan.coetzee2 - 2011-11-30 08:43

    Like PIGS at the trough, these are ways of the ANC

  • Musa - 2011-11-30 08:47

    These stupid, clueless bimbos commenting here did not even listen to the Cabinet spokesperson explaining the reasons for Willie's removal. The guy was holding 2 positions, he is still the head of AFU under NPA. You just rely on these biased media reports showing media conspiracy. The reasons are purely to strenghten government agencies to fight crime and corruption. The problem is that we have media which define themselves as opposition parties. The reasons were stated (as I have indicated above), but journalists decide to have their own interpretation of this reshuffling. Journalists are becoming a law unto themselves. Another reason why we need a media appeals tribunal.

  • Tsundzuka - 2011-11-30 08:52

    Looks like the DA only gets concerned if its a white person thats fired, all this time Zuma fired ministers nd just because the were black, DA had no ''great concerns''

      David - 2011-11-30 09:11

      why should they get concerned if the people fired were corrupt colour does not matter corruption should be stopped

      ana.curcic - 2011-11-30 10:08

      Eish..... your stupidity has no boundry.

      Kay - 2011-11-30 11:52

      And im going to tell u now that u r stupid cause u r ...... plain f....g stupid shut up and go play somewhere else u waste of life

  • David - 2011-11-30 09:06

    the secrets bill is starting to show itself with heath's appointment a zuma buddy I rest my case What are we going to do about this blatant case of hiding corruption by appointing the right people to suit the goverment

  • jwdupreez - 2011-11-30 09:27

    WHY??.........because he is scratching WHERE the ANC & Comrades dont want the world To know thaT it is "itching"

  • leonard.doms - 2011-11-30 10:01

    Wonder what position Heath's son will occupy? All about money for Heath...Willie Hofmeyr was committed, gave his life to the function and did a brilliant job!!What a shocker!!!!

  • Manie - 2011-11-30 10:05

    Who is next to go?.....Madonsela?

  • naledimongoato - 2011-11-30 10:10

    Cause I can!

  • Aubrey - 2011-11-30 11:55

    Zumas new legal adviser can only be our nando man mugabe. erode the judicary to suit the ruling party. JUDGE HEATH YOU SHOULD HANG YOUR HEAD IN SHAME, A JUDGE IN OUR EYES MUST BE ABOVE REPROACH. SIS

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