Regard must be had to the higher standard of conduct expected from public officials, and the number of falsehoods that have been put forward by the Public Protector in the course of the litigation. This conduct included the numerous “misstatements”, like misrepresenting, under oath, her reliance on evidence of economic experts in drawing up the report, failing to provide a complete record, ordered and indexed, so that the contents thereof could be determined, failing to disclose material meetings and then obfuscating the reasons for them and the reasons why they had not been previously disclosed, and generally failing to provide the court with a frank and candid account of her conduct in preparing the report. The punitive aspect of the costs order therefore stands.
Is it a question of “when the cat is away the mice will play?” Given the complete implosion now happening at the SABC, what with CEO Dali Mpofu and group executive of news and current affairs, Snuki Zikalala, both suspended and the SABC board facing a vote of no confidence in the National Assembly it is unclear who is actually in charge at his masters voice.
I must confess, over the past two years I have not regularly watched what the SABC has quaintly called their news bulletin. One can only watch so many stories of Ministers opening fertiliser plants and Miranda Strydom fawning over our President before one falls asleep.
But this week I switched to the SABC news bulletin after noticing that it was reporting in a rather detailed and sharp manner on the Ginwala Commission of Enquiry into NPA boss Vusi Pikoli’s fitness to hold office. On Friday night it showed snippets from Pikoli’s legal counsel, Wim Trengove’s, cross examination of Director General in the Department of Justice Menzi Simelane.
I was taken aback when the usually supine SABC showed the clip of Trengove grilling Simelane about the fact that the State first denied that a letter written by President Thabo Mbeki to Justice Minister Brigitte Mabandla about the suspension of Vusi Pikoli existed. Later it had to admit that there was such a letter.
Asked Tregove: when the state decided to lie about the existence of this letter, was it the Director General who decided to lie about it or was it the Minister how decided to lie about it. Shoe – bulls eye!
In the past such a clip suggesting that the state was dishonest in the extreme would not have been shown. Is this a matter of the SABC journalists finally getting the guts to do their job because of the absence of Kommisar Zikalala? Or is this negative reporting on the state’s case against Pikoli perhaps part of an attempt to curry favour with the anti-Mbeki camp in the ANC?
Whatever the reason, the reports coming out of Auckland Park about this Enquiry have been riveting. How long can it last?
The reporting also shows how power has slipped away from President Thabo Mbeki since his defeat at Polokwane. When he was at the hight of his influence, no reporter at the SABC would have dared to present such a report that so clearly shows that the Minister and/or the President had lied about the Jackie Selebi matter. The State’s case would have been put in the most positive light and all the viewers would have thought there was all the legal and constitutional reason in the world to suspend Pikoli.
Now Mbeki is yesterday’s man and even lowly reporters put together stories that can only but embarrass him. How the mighty has fallen. I almost feel sorry for our pipe smoking, gallivanting President. There, I said it.BACK TO TOP