Zuma fires Willie Hofmeyr

2011-11-29 16:40

Johannesburg - Former judge Willem Heath has made a stunning comeback as head of the special investigating unit (SIU) after President Jacob Zuma fired incumbent Willie Hofmeyr this afternoon.

In a statement released by Zuma's spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, the president said the decision was to "strengthen the institutional capacity to fight crime and corruption. The appointment is with immediate effect.”

Hofmeyr, who had been wearing two hats for a number of years, will remain as head of the asset forfeiture unit (AFU) in the national prosecuting authority (NPA).

Heath previously headed the SIU before the Constitutional Court ruled in 2000 that a judge could not head an investigating unit.

He subsequently resigned as a judge and returned to work as an advocate at his private forensic investigations firm.

Heath was instrumental in the original arms deal investigation before he left the SIU.

Ironically, Zuma, as head of government business, signed a letter at the time, excluding Heath from the formal arms deal inquiry.

Heath made a comeback to the Zuma inner circle around the ANC's national conference in Polokwane, when he assisted the president with his strategy to have corruption charges against him dropped.

In his statement, Zuma praised Hofmeyr for the work he had done at the SIU.

"Under the leadership of Mr Hofmeyr the two units have made a significant contribution in the fight against crime.

"It has now become necessary to further strengthen our capacity by placing each of these two units under separate commands.

"The strengthening of the units at leadership level will improve government's response to the growing crime syndicates, more sophisticated means of committing crimes and the ever growing threat of cyber crime.

"It will help us in furthering our objective of dealing decisively with crime and corruption, one of government’s five priorities," Zuma said.

  • Mike - 2011-11-29 16:52

    News24 you said you would sort out the troll please do!

      Shistirrer - 2011-11-29 17:59

      Poliodonkey, don't take it so personally. He said "troll", not "drol".

  • Vicky - 2011-11-29 16:53

    Flippin hell, what a stupid sensation seeking darn head line!!! Makes it sound as if willie Hofmeyer was marched off the premises hanging his head in shame. He was not fired. he was relieved of 1 of the 2 hats he had to wear - and he did a very good job of it according to JZ!!

      BA - 2011-11-29 17:15

      He's white so News24 could not resist it

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-11-30 06:21

      True, it helps to read the article before making a comment. The headlines are often way off what articles actually contain - must admit, I was also guilty in this case!

  • calliedj - 2011-11-29 17:00

    So it seems Heath is just another one of Zuma's cronies.

      Impi - 2011-11-29 17:13

      Smoke and Mirrors.

      Denise - 2011-11-30 00:00

      To all those ­from President Thabo Mbeki down ­who Hogarth lampooned over the years for disbanding the Heath Special Investigating Unit: you were right. It turns out that Judge Willem Heath suffers from rather bad judgment. In 2005 he was quoted by Independent newspapers as saying of the Shaik judgment: “I am inextricably drawn to the inference that [former Scorpions boss Bulelani Ngcuka], appointed as a politician, had a political motive for brutally attempting to destroy Zuma’s reputation and stamping on his constitutional rights to defend himself in court.” He went further: “What we are seeing is ... a blatant attempt to use the arms-deal fiasco as the ideal springboard for political agendas and hidden motives.” And your political agenda, Judge Mampara?

      Denise - 2011-11-30 00:58

      Zuma has clearly not forgotten Heath's legal advice and support during his corruption trial. So what are the reasons for this decision? According to the SIU's recent Annual Report, the unit had its best year ever last year. Given Hofmeyr's obviously excellent corruption-busting work there's no justification for this decision. Has his assistance in the Public Protector's investigation involving Cabinet Ministers and the National Police Commissioner hit too close to home for the ruling party? Hofmeyr has been under threat for some time by National Director of Public Prosecutions Adv. Menzi Simelane, and now he will be at his mercy in the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

      Thabo - 2011-12-03 00:13

      He can be construed as a Zuma ally, but perhaps you need to look at the man and his merits as a judge and a free thinkinker who comes to different conclusions to those held by the (school of conventional wisdom)on a particular matter. Let's accept that Zuma was elected president after the fact, therefore more South Africans support Heath's arguments than not. The fact is: the assets forefiture unit and the SIU are 2 entities and it os not incomprehensible that they would be headed by 2 different persons. So the appointment of a head in the one and separation of departments is not an issue. No one was fired an no one was demoted here. Also, Hofmeyr's opinions about the issues that are being brought forward are not much different from those of Heath (unless I've been asleep for a long time). The fact that Heath is the appointee is an issue because he looked at an issue and expressed his opinion. The moral of the story: Never express your opinion, the freedom loving media may not take kindly to it if yours is contrary to theirs.

  • allensrsa - 2011-11-29 17:04

    So bloody dramatic as usual by News 24. He has not been "FIRED" just relieved of a temporary posting for operational reasons.

  • isiphukuphuku - 2011-11-29 17:06

  • Philip - 2011-11-29 17:12

    Headlines very misleading....

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2011-11-29 17:21

    We can't refer to this as sensationalism as the headline is simply misleading. The headline would've been better as, 'Zuma appoints Heath'. Imagine someone who had a glance on headline only and go around telling people that Hofmeyr has been fired.

      Larry - 2011-11-29 17:24

      Heath is a Zuma Yes man. He has proved this in the past.

      Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2011-11-29 18:52

      Getting rid of all suspiscious elements.

  • Larry - 2011-11-29 17:23

    Zuma tightening the reins. The man is more dangerous than Mugabe and Ghadaffi put together.

  • BA - 2011-11-29 17:25

    Maybe the info bill is not a bad idea if you look at how News24 is misleading readers

  • Garth - 2011-11-29 17:27

    I have been out of touch for a while, but it is very obvious that this Real_Idiocracy_ObviousUnderachiever is actually Erection Without Potency, is it not?

      Garth - 2011-11-29 17:41

      Have you been drinking Energy Without Purpose? You read all disconnected and out of sorts. Take your finger out of your nose, get off your a¬se and get a job - freeloading, good-for-nothing!

      Piet - 2011-11-29 18:05

      @Racial_Inequality_OverUnderprivileged 1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. 2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. 3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. 4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it! 5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

  • Servaas - 2011-11-29 17:30

    So why on earth does the headline say "Zuma fires Willie Hofmeyr"??? News24 is doing a good job on playing with the emotions of its readers.

  • Eric - 2011-11-29 17:30

    The headlines is what the government speaks about. The man did not get fired. the load has been spread so that corruption can be whittled out quicker. Then I read the comments about birds of a feather flock together. Does this not mean that those that are anti government is also birds of a feather that flock together.Alos, stick to the point at hand. Jacob Zuma is making changes. what has this got to do with race

      Piet - 2011-11-29 18:05

      @Racial_Inequality_OverUnderprivileged 1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. 2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. 3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. 4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it! 5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

      Jack - 2011-11-29 18:27

      Racial i o up, What exactly do you want to hear. White people do avoid talking about racism. White people supremacy ,if you say so, and white people were bred that way. It is not a privilege, they did not make themselves. If you perceive yourself a lesser breed I am feeling very sorry for you. Get a life man. Make peace with yourself and move on.

      The Real Unskinny - 2011-11-29 18:43

      @Racial_drivel: Whites wealth is based on their knowledge which comes from a good education. Nothing to do with oppression. Would you like to reflect on how far European countries were ahead of African countries BEFORE the first settlers arrived at the Cape? Who's oppression would you like to blame THAT on?

  • Shirley - 2011-11-29 17:36

    A misleading headline which will have a dissapointing outcome. Its just allowed the morons under their fake names to come and spew their GARBAGE. News 24 are quick to remove comments but this trash stays on the site?????????????

  • sefeddt - 2011-11-29 17:39

    Heath helps Zuma get corruption charges dropped, Zuma appoints Heath to a top job. Nothing odd there ?

  • Dewdawn - 2011-11-29 17:56

    Ah so the Mac the Bribe crew get new suprimo consiglieri in their ranks? Wonder what old Willem Heath has that makes him a Zuma choice. Go investigative journalist Must be some really tasty sushi morsels around this one?

  • rhslingers - 2011-11-29 18:14

    Your headline is misleading.

  • Zain - 2011-11-29 18:44

    Racial you are an absolute idiot! How many people can maintain wealth, you say that each white person received the stolen chips? It takes courage, hard work and intelligence to maintain wealth. You think whites are all privilidged? Listen to the xmas wish on highveld, there are white peopel who cannot even afford a bed. A friend of mine was shot, murdered because the security gaurd didnt like what she said to him. This woman had NOTHING and now her father who is 88 doesnt even have a place to stay, he has no money and no food. If you want to talk about privilidge have a look at your mates driving their fancy cars that they have done NOTHING to deserve. Why dont you ask them for a handout, they havent worked for their money so wont mind giving it away. I am 43 and have been studying for the last 7 years to try and build a better life for my daughter, NOT ONCE have I asked anyone for anything or blamed anyone else for my situation. I ACCEPT responsabuility for messing up my life.

  • Cracker - 2011-11-29 19:01

    This whole discussion on the topic has been derailed by the irrelevant comments by a one underachieving GUY. News24 should consider measures to keep the discussions here relevant to the topics. Those who have views not compatible with the content of the topics here, can submit their views under the article/opinion section. We other GUYS can then decide if we wish to comment on the GUY'S views. The GUY should note that nobody stole from him. He should really take a look at the latest Nando advert. Mugabe tried the same cr.p and see where he and his dying country are today. I hired a Zimbabwean to do some work for me. All legit. His views of what has been taking place in his home country once again strengthened my conviction that we must NEVER allow the type of evil approach that GUY tries to advance here.

      Mike - 2011-11-29 19:12

      Cracker he is a stereotype troll who succeeded in this thread, the main goal to derail the thread was accomplished because people reply

      Cracker - 2011-11-29 19:34

      Right. And I think it is understandable why people react to the provocative lies by the trolls. Nevertheless, if we others are able to go through the comments in a few brief minutes and identify the really off the mark ones, it should not be a problem for someone at News24 to do the same and remove the comments. Perhaps they should open a special section for trolls par excellence or just the silliness section.

      Mike - 2011-11-29 19:45

      He is a successful troll Cracker, count the posts that are on topic only about 15 out the total. He has now posted again in some new articles, new24 will remove his posts and all the posts in reply watch.

  • doreen.vanrooyen - 2011-11-29 19:16

    Great Mr Zuma, you will surround yourself with your comrades..Not good for SA democracy!!

  • Noeline - 2011-11-29 19:41

    If everyone got "off" the race thing, and stop blaming everything on everyone, then maybe we CAN get together and create employment for the people that want employment - by all giving a little, together, a lot can be achieved! We can never move forward if we don't take the step...

  • George - 2011-11-29 19:58

    Let see if Willem Heath WILL or Has sold his sole to the anc

      Heinrich - 2011-11-29 20:06


  • Paulus - 2011-11-29 20:12

    hey Racial drivel dude... what does it feel like to look at your stats up top and see 10 likes and 2,000,000 dislikes? Doesn't that give you a hint that you barking up the wrong tree?

  • fredahsm - 2011-11-29 22:44

    The heading and the article dont speak to each other, "fired and relieved" have two different meanings.

  • Sunshine - 2011-11-29 23:54

    @Racial_Inequality_OverUnderprivileged I hear what you're saying. What do you suggest we do about it?

  • johnkk - 2011-11-30 00:07

    Mr. EDITOR ~ Your head line is very misleading, DO NOT give media critics ammunition, the public need true and honest journalism.

  • Silvana - 2011-11-30 05:44

    Just another move of a chess piece, to cover up their thieving orgy.

  • kwenam - 2011-11-30 08:08

    He didnt fire him, he just filled the position he was acting in, why news papers are like this. how can one man have 3 positions? he was acting in that position and it was filled. however close relationship Heath have with Zuma is worring

  • Musa - 2011-11-30 08:26

    The media again with their own hidden, political agenda are misleading the nation. Willie was not fired, he is still the head of AFU. Bloody journalists! Let us move forward to the establishment of a media appeals tribunal. I am tired of this media conspiracy.

  • piet.vanzyl - 2011-11-30 09:05

    Mac Maharaj(corrupt?)defendings Zuma's(corrupt?)decision. How stupid do these people think we are?? Tell us you are doing it to save your own bacon and at least you will show some kind of honesty. Fellow South Africans, we need to explain to everyone who has a vote what is happening here! The ballot box is the only recourse we have to rid ourselves of this bunch plundering SA!!

  • Cina - 2011-11-30 09:12

    Zuma is doing everything to get people into positions to cover his @ss.

  • nicn44 - 2011-11-30 10:10

    How can you headline 'Zuma fires Hofmeyer" ? its been general knowledge that Willie Hofmeyer has been running honestly two branches SIU & AFU under extreme conditions, now he is able to concentrate his efforts on the AFU for which he is exceptionally talented. I'm pleased the man has been given some assistance.Just watch out for the dodgy head of NPA blocking any exposures.

  • Graham - 2011-11-30 10:24

    Ho,ho,ho! What utter claptrap and uttered by Zuma's "spokesman". This appointment is going to aid the fight against corruption? It will help keep the thieves and crooks out of jail that's all!

  • Michael - 2011-11-30 11:18

    Misleading headline once again !! No wonder you piss off the politicians!! How can one describe this as a firing? The jobs were separated and now each can focus on his own respective role.

  • Nyiks11 - 2011-11-30 11:42

    was he fired or relieved of his duties ?

      fredahsm - 2011-11-30 22:40

      Relieved, as usual the editor must be fired for incompetent work output..........

  • ShauneJordaan - 2011-11-30 12:12

    Hmmm...Zuma seems to be planning a lot before elections. First Malena, then Secrecy bill, now this...something brewing.

  • Chabi - 2011-11-30 13:27

    Willie I am firing you to do one Job, because in this country we have massive unemployment rates, the public service cannot afford to give one man two jobs, but you are free to go and moonlight in Hollywood as an extraterrestrial,see ya slick !!!

  • mclean.lana - 2011-11-30 15:26

    Why do you people keep commenting on what the idiot has to say, you are only making him laugh and giving him more rubbish to paste on here.

  • EyesEars - 2011-11-30 15:26

    "It will help us in furthering our objective of dealing decisively with crime and corruption, one of government’s five priorities," Zuma said. What a joke, as Zuma is once again protecting himself with Heath's appointment. How convenient!

  • Angela - 2011-11-30 16:33

    Denouncing a creator removes all the morals we were taught by so called religion, so then it is alright to take what we want, when we want and fear no consequences because their is no greater good right? Where else would the concept of right or wrong come from? It would all become relative and according to each ones conviction, so the victim would develop a conscience, and the victor could continue unabated. While hedonism may have some seemingly attractive ploys, I personally would not want to exist in a place where their is no firm belief in a greater good.

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