Friday, November 27, 2009

Efforts to block new chief prosecutor’s appointment

By Khanyisa Tabata
27 November 2009


A senior counsel of the Pretoria Bar, Patrick Ellis, is taking action to have the new national chief prosecutor Menzi Simelane struck off the roll of advocates before he takes up the position on Monday.

On Wednesday, President Jacob Zuma named the justice department's former director-general as the country's prosecutions head.

It is believed Ellis is arguing that Simelane is not fit and proper to hold a public office.

But Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe said yesterday that Simelane was indeed fit for the position.

Speaking at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Radebe said nothing would prevent Simelane from assuming his position.

Radebe says Simelane has two degrees and was a director general for the Department of Justice for years.

Former speaker Frene Ginwala questioned Simelane’s conduct during an enquiry into his predecessor at the Prosecutions Authority Vusi Pikoli.

Meanwhile, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille says her party will also fight Simelane’s appointment. Zille says in her weekly newsletter that the dismissal of Pikoli and the appointment of Simelane was pure power abuse.

She accuses President Jacob Zuma of appointing someone who believes it is the job of the National Director of Public Prosecutions to do whatever government tells him to.

Zille says Zuma knows that the DA is seeking a High Court review of the decision to withdraw charges against him.

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