Zuma’s appointment of Simelane invalid – ConCourt

2012-10-05 10:14
Charl du Plessis
The Constitutional Court has confirmed that President Jacob Zuma’s appointment of Menzi Simelane as head of the National Prosecuting Authority was invalid.

The court found that Simelane’s testimony before the Ginwala Enquiry was “on the face of it contradictory and raised questions about Mr Simelane’s integrity”.

The NPA Act requires that a person appointed to the office must be a fit and proper person with due regard to his or her integrity and conscientiousness.

But Yacoob said that “dishonesty was the enemy of integrity and conscientiousness”.

Simelane’s appointment could therefore not be rationally related the purpose of appointing a fit and proper person.

The court confirmed that the appointment was irrational and constitutionally invalid, but ruled that this would not affect any decisions Simelane took while he held office.

It found that the reasons Justice Minister Jeff Radebe gave Zuma to justify Simelane’s appointment in the face of the Ginwala findings were “insufficient”.

The 2007 Ginwala Enquiry was established to determine Vusi Pikoli’s fitness to hold the office of National Director of Public Prosecutions.

Simelane was at the time director-general of the department of justice.
The two had been at loggerheads over the degree of influence the justice minister had over the NPA.

The Ginwala Enquiry found that Simelane had given contradictory evidence and evidence that had no basis in fact or law.

The decision of the court was unanimous, aside from one paragraph.

Helen Zille, leader of the Democratic Alliance, which took the matter to court, hailed the judgment as a
victory for all South Africans.

Zille said the
independence of police, the courts and the prosecuting authority from the ruling party is crucial.

» This story was updated after first published.