uproar over new NPA boss

NOT PREFERRED: Advocate Menzi Simelane. Pic. SEFAKO MABUYA. 14/07/2000. © Sowetan.
SW20000714SMA016:GENERIC:NOCATEGORY:01JAN1980 - 20000706SM01 BUSINESS Advocate Menzi Simelane,Commissioner at the Competition Commision. PHOTO: SEFAKO MABUYA
NOT PREFERRED: Advocate Menzi Simelane. Pic. SEFAKO MABUYA. 14/07/2000. © Sowetan. SW20000714SMA016:GENERIC:NOCATEGORY:01JAN1980 - 20000706SM01 BUSINESS Advocate Menzi Simelane,Commissioner at the Competition Commision. PHOTO: SEFAKO MABUYA

OPPOSITION parties say the appointment of Menzi Simelane as the National Director of Public Prosecutions is payback for his role in the demise of the Scorpions.

OPPOSITION parties say the appointment of Menzi Simelane as the National Director of Public Prosecutions is payback for his role in the demise of the Scorpions.

They have rejected the appointment though the ANC insists it is appropriate.

Simelane had said there was lawlessness in the Scorpions when he gave evidence before the Ginwala Commission appointed to find out whether former director Vusi Pikoli was fit to head the unit.

He was appointed deputy director of the NDPP last month despite a recommendation by the Ginwala Commission that he should face disciplinary action for his conduct during the sitting of the commission.

"Advocate Simelane's experience as administrative head of the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Department and in the legal fraternity provides him with the necessary skills and capacity to perform his functions efficiently and effectively," President Jacob Zuma said when he announced Simelane's appointment.

Zuma said the NPA was a critical arm of the criminal justice system and a key instrument in the broader fight against crime and the implementation of justice.

"Its independence and vigour in the pursuit of justice must at all times remain unquestionable.

"We have confidence that Advocate Simelane will make this utmost priority," Zuma said.

The statement further said Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Jeff Radebe, "interacted with the Public Service Commission on the matter relating to Simelane, raised by the Ginwala Commission, and decided not to proceed with the disciplinary hearings".

Opposition parties reacted with shock to the appointment, but the ruling ANC was adamant that Simelane's appointment would bring "stability to one of the key arms of the criminal justice system".

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille questioned Zuma's judgment in appointing Simelane.

"That President Zuma can appoint someone who was accused by the Frene Ginwala panel of deceiving, and of interference with the NPA independence, shows the president's disregard for the independence of the NPA," De Lille said.

The IFP said it believed Simelane's appointment would undermine the criminal justice system.

"The future independence of the NPA is now at stake. The NPA's ability to act without fear or favour has been dealt a blow."

DA spokesperson Dene Smuts said Simelane was the cause of the constant conflict between the ministry and the NDPP.

Cope spokesperson Phillip Dexter said the appointment of Simelane was a payback for his role in shutting down Scorpions.

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