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By Anna Majavu | Oct 20, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

PROFESSOR Kader Asmal has lashed out at the ANC, calling Justice Minister Jeff Radebe politically illiterate and saying he hopes he will not be alive if Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula ever becomes general secretary of the ANC.

Asmal was speaking at a Press Freedom Day event hosted by the Cape Town Press Club and South African National Editors' Forum in Cape Town yesterday.

The former water affairs and education minister said he was speaking "very much as an ANC person".

He called on the media to investigate the "dank, dark, dangerous areas of South African life".

"What were the circumstances . for the withdrawal of the case against Mr Zuma? Where is your determination to ferret out the background?

"What about the legalities of the issue of depending on illicitly obtained information?" Asmal asked, referring to the spy tapes used by the National Prosecuting Authority in their decision to drop charges against Zuma.

After that he slammed Mbalula.

"This former head of the Youth League, who aspires to be general secretary of the ANC, I hope I won't be alive then," Asmal said.

"He says we must militarise the police. We spent days and days in 1991 to get away from the idea of a militarised police force. A police service is wrong, according to the president, it must be a police force. That's an extraordinary thing."

He also lashed out at Radebe for saying South Africa was allowed to sell weapons to countries if there was no UN arms embargo against those countries.

"How is it possible for the press to allow that kind of political illiteracy?" Asmal asked.

There was a "creeping tendency towards less transparency" in South Africa, with parliamentary committees "retreating behind closed doors at the drop of a hat", Asmal said.

He slammed Parliament's police committee for keeping the media and public out of Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa's recent briefing on crime statistics.

Echoing the DA and Cope, Asmal accused the ANC of "further abuse" of the parliamentary process during the recent public hearings on labour broking.

He then tackled the Justice Department over the Protection of Personal Information Bill, which he said was "obsessively like the old South Africa".

"The Department of Justice has an appalling record in drafting legislation," he said, calling the bill the "product of a third rate mind".


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