Kingdom Mabuza

Kingdom Mabuza

Director-general in the presidency Frank Chikane said yesterday he remained worried about the safekeeping of classified information obtained by the Directorate of Special Operation in a raid on the president's offices in the Union Building in Tshwane and Tuynhuys in Cape Town.

Chikane said this at public hearings headed by Frene Ginwala in Johannesburg about the fitness of Vusi Pikoli to hold the office of national director.

Chikane said he had not beem given assurances by National Director of Public Prosecutions Pikoli that investigators sent on the raid had been properly vetted.

"I am still concerned up to this day," Chikane said. "I am greatly alarmed because I do not now how far the classified information they took has gone."

He said he had raised his concerns with Pikoli about the operatives and private company dispatched to raid the president's offices.

"Pikoli has a responsibility to make sure that people he sent were vetted," Chikane said. "When I asked him he could not answer and said he would ask Mr Nel."

The raids, which were simultaneously carried out in Cape Town and Pretoria in August 2005, were related to the arms deal investigations into corruption charges against ANC president Jacob Zuma.

"Up to now I cannot convince myself that the foreign company did not copy classified information from the computers. The DSO would not give me a guarantee," he said.

"The search was carried out over a number of days. On the second day, while away, I got a call that there were tensions between staff in the presidency and the investigators.

"When I called the minister (Brigitte Mabandla) to aks her to help us she was surprised that there was a raid."

Ginwala was appointed by President Thabo Mbeki to also conduct the hearing on whether Pikoli, in exercising his discretion to prosecute offenders, had sufficient regard to the nature and extent of the threat posed by organised crime to the national security of the republic.

The hearings will also determine whether Pikoli, in taking decisions to grant immunity from prosecution to or enter into plea bargaining arrangements with persons who are allegedly involved in illegal activities that constitute organised crime, paid due regard to the public interest.

Ginwala will also probe whether the relationship between Pikoli and Mabandla has irretrievably broken down.