Quote of the week

Apartheid-era sleaze, especially during the sanctions period, ushered in a series of financial crimes of Bon Jovi ballad proportions. That billions were stolen have never been much of a secret, but nailing downright villains has always been a challenge. The uncynical view is that former finance minister Trevor Manuel and his advisors were under the impression that chasing the missing cash would destroy the delicate green shoots of the post-apartheid economy – a decision that, like so many back in those days, dispensed with justice in favour of “stability”. The more cynical view is that the ANC cut a deal with the apartheid scum, one that traded cover-ups on pre-changeover crimes for help on perpetrating post-changeover heists.

Richard Poplak
Daily Maverick
1 December 2009

Apology to President Zuma

Last week on this Blog I critised President Jacob Zuma for purporting to appoint Adv Menzi Simelane as the National Director of Public Prosecutions and pointed out – correctly in my view – that the appointment shows an utter disregard for the Constitution and the law. In my criticism – which I believe to be valid and based on the proven facts and a correct interpretation of the law and the Constitution – I unfortunately reverted to the kind of intemperate language, which sadly has become all too common in our political discourse, by referring to our President as a “gangster”.
 
I regret using such intemperate language, which detracts from the substantive debate regarding the unfitness of Adv Menzi Simelane to hold office as the National Director of Public Prosecutions. I wish to apologise unreservedly to our President for the use of this intemperate language which, as the Presidency points out, does not contribute to the healthy and respectful debate so needed in our democracy.
 
However, I do call on our President to reconsider the appointment of Adv Menzi Simelane as the National Director of Public Prosecutions as this appointment is not in the interest of the country and the smooth running of the criminal justice system. Given the serious questions about Adv Simelane’s fitness to hold office, reasonable people – including myself – will continue to speculate about the true reasons for the appointment which indeed, shows a disregard for the law and the Constitution as well as for the independence of the National Prosecuting Authority.
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