My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
CASAC STATEMENT: Removal of Willie Hofmeyr as the head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and his replacement by Willem Heath.
Under the leadership of Hofmeyr the SIU, despite its limited mandate, became one of the key structures in the fight against corruption. We note that Willem Heath has had a close relationship with President Zuma, having acted as an advisor to Zuma when he was being investigated by the erstwhile Scorpions on allegations of corruption. Whilst as head of the SIU he will only investigate matters that are referred to him by the President, his independent judgment will be compromised.
In the light of the Constitutional Court judgment in the Glenister case calling for an effective independent body to fight corruption, this decision by the President can only serve to weaken the states capacity to tackle corruption.
This appointment marks another step in the process of rewarding individuals, whose independence has been compromised, dating back to the appointment of Menzi Simelane as the National Director of Public Prosecutions.
Our country needs a robust, fearless criminal justice sector in order to deal effectively with crime and corruption. This move by the President is a set-back in that quest.
Lawson Naidoo – 073 158 5736
Masutane Modjadji – 076 9370825BACK TO TOP