Constitutional Court rules Simelane appointment invalid

05 October 2012 - 12:27 By Sapa
Menzi Simelan. File photo.
Menzi Simelan. File photo.
Image: ROBERT TSHABALALA

The Constitutional Court on Friday declared Menzi Simelane's appointment as National Director of Public Prosecutions invalid.

In reading the judgment, Judge Zac Yacoob said that in the unanimous judgment they reached a number of legal conclusions including that the appointment of the NDPP was not a matter to be determined by the subjective opinion of the president.

"It was rather a jurisdictional prerequisite to be determined objectively," he said.

"Dishonesty is inconsistent with the conscientiousness and integrity required for the proper execution of the responsibilities of the NDPP."

On May 8, the court heard an application by the Democratic Alliance to confirm a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling that the decision to employ Simelane was invalid.

The report of the Ginwala commission of inquiry into Simelane's predecessor Vusi Pikoli's fitness to hold office had raised concerns about Simelane's understanding of the relationship between the justice department, where he was a director general at the time of the Pikoli events, and the National Prosecuting Authority.

Yacoob said Simelane was evaluated in terms of the Ginwala inquiry.

"[We] conclude that the evidence was contradictory and on its face indicative of Mr Simelane's honesty. It raises serious questions about Mr Simelane's conscientiousness, integrity, and credibility," said Yacoob.

"The decisions taken and acts performed by Mr Menzi Simelane and actions by the [NDPP] are not invalid merely because of the invalidity of his appointment."

DA leader Helen Zille told reporters she believed it was important to keep politics outside the law, as political parties would use the law to persecute their political enemies and not prosecute them.

"If that happens you can't have democracy. The independence of the National Prosecuting Authority is absolutely important in a democracy to every person's rights," Zille said.

"When you can't be sure of the independence of the National Prosecuting Authority -- you don't know if charges are laid for political reasons or if there are legal reason for these charges..."

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