Thabo Mbeki has a history of using commissions as a political tool. It was barely three years ago that he convened the Hefer Commission to decide whether Bulelani Ngcuka (also head of the NPA at the time) was a spy for the Nationalist government. That commission ended in exoneration for Ngcuka and humiliation for Mo Shaik and Mac Maharaj who had made the accusations. It strengthened the case against Mo’s brother Schabir Shaik and by imlpication against Jacob Zuma as well.
This time however we have a new commission headed up by former Speaker of Parliament Frene Ginwala and instead of looking to exonerate NPA chief Vusi Pikoli it will be looking to decide whether he was abusing his role and had become a ‘rogue agent’ of sorts.
It’s interesting to note the tactic that government is taking in going after Pikoli. They are accusing him of abusing his “discretion in the decision to prosecute offenders or grant immunity from prosecution to suspects allegedly involved in organised crime”. From all the rumours going around it seems Pikoli has offered Brett Kebble murder suspect Glenn Agliotti some kind of deal in exchange for some juicy goods on Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi, his (ex?) friend “finish and klaar”.
This will allow government to show some righteous moral indignation that Pikoli was consorting with an accused murderer to go after a government official. I predict lots of statements talking about how justice in the Kebble case was being subverted for other aims and how Agliotti is not to be trusted. Any deals that were in the works will be quietly scuppered and Agliotti will receive the full weight of the law and be shuffled off to C-Max never to be heard from again.
“The way the Scorpions [and the NPA] have continued to conduct themselves has raised a lot of eyebrows and the people have lost faith in the institutions,” said Maleka.I have a feeling that if Maleka took a poll he’d find support for the NPA and Scorpions to be a bit higher than expected. Perhaps what he meant to say is “Why do the NPA investigate prominent polititicians? Don’t they know we’re above the law?”
He said an overhaul of the NPA and the Scorpions is needed in order to improve the public’s trust in them. “More than perhaps the suspension, we need a serious overhaul which must be informed by the resolutions of the ANC national general council in 2005 and the policy conference that took place this year.”
Folks, it’s reading an article like this that actually makes me look back on the violent SATAWU riots of late last year with some affection because at least those were actual protests, not some tip toe down the streets angst fest happening tomorrow:
For the march to take place, organisers agreed to rules laid down by the Tshwane Metro Council.
These include no anti-government slogans, no wearing of official uniforms, no covering of faces with balaclavas, bandanas or caps, and no stopping at intersections.
AAC founder Vinnete Ebrahim said while the organisation was not pandering to any form of censorship and would ultimately not stop anyone with anti-government banners, they wanted to keep the issue of crime at the forefront.
“It is something the Metro Police and AAC agreed upon.
“This was because we felt that when one uses anti-government slogans it allows for hate speech which could easily lead to racism.”
I guess we can expect a level of PC-ness from the Artists Against Crime but that’s just taking things a little bit too far. It’s a bit of a jump from allowing anti-government slogans to having the AWB takeover the protest.
This is pretty indicative of the way the ANC has managed to frame any debate about government: ‘If you criticise government, you’re a racist’. They’ve used that canard for years in parliament when it comes to critics of government, particularly the DA. That’s not particularly healthy for discourse and debate.And to make it worse here’s a nice bit of thoughtcrime policing from Tshwane Metro Police spokesperson William Baloyi:
As Metro Police we do not approve any gathering or march that is against the spirit of the constitution, which includes a gathering used as a platform for hate speech, illegal activities, incitement to violence or which may be offensive to the broader community.
No laws have to be broken, it just has to be against the ‘spirit of the constitution’. I know the myth of true freedom of speech in SA was shattered during the whole Mohammed cartoon fiasco, but it’s always nice to get a reminder about it from the cops.Update: Here’s a prime example of an ANC politician playing the ‘racist!’ card.
Speeding minister wants ‘racist’ whistle-blower found
KwaZulu-Natal’s transport minister on Tuesday again justified his convoy’s recent speeding and called for the name of the “racist” motorist who filmed it.
“He is a self-made, arrogant, non-accountable individual who purports to be a good citizen and I will dare to argue that he is also a racist,” said Bheki Cele in a statement.He said the motorist who had used his cellphone to film Cele’s convoy speeding at 160km/h had broken the law. The Witness newspaper, which ran the story in April, has refused to reveal the name of its source.
With three European countries (England, Germany and Sweden) about to start their own investigations into bribery involved in the multi-billion Rand arms deal (despite our own government claiming everything was above board) the role of Chippy Shaik, older brother of Schabir, is starting to come under the spotlight. Chippy was head of procurement for the Department of Defence during the tendering and acquisition of the various weapons systems that made up the arms deal.
The NPA alleges that Chippy “suggested” that Thales partner up with his brother Schabir as a BEE partner. That of course led to the R500 000 bribe offer given to Jacob Zuma which basically kicked off the whole saga culminating in Shaik’s conviction for fraud and Zuma’s firing as Deputy President. Chippy has kept a very low profile following his resignation from the Department of Defence but should the NPA decide to investigate further into Chippy’s role in the arms deal I have a feeling he might have a lot more to answer for than Schabir ever did.Update: Chippy Shaik goes to ground
Former Head of Procurement for the arms deal at the Ministry of Defence and brother of jailed fraudster Schabir Shaik, Shamin Chippy Shaik, 46, cannot be found and his family have thrown a net of secrecy over his whereabouts.
The Sunday Times has been told that he has set plans in motion to flee the country as he does not want to take the chance of spending time in a South African jail and is making his way to Perth in Australia.
15 judges in Gauteng have written a petition to the Judicial Service Commission condemning them for discussing bad decisions made by judges. They claim that doing so will harm transformation of the bench, although that’s not really an excuse you can tell someone after being falsely convicted (or to a family watching a murder suspect who had killed a relative walk free on a technicality). The petition however does have a signatory who is not exactly helping their cause, Judge Nkola Motata
...who faced criticism at the commission for the extent of his work backlog and because he left urgent matters incomplete while he attended a golf tournament. He is now on leave pending resolution of drunk driving charges.
Those kind of mistakes (especially that drunk driving one) are a little too public to be kept under the table.
The arrest of Glenn Agliotti in the muder of mining tycoon Brett Kebble and his previous arrest in a potential R250 million drug/cigarette smuggling operation puts national Police Commissioner in a very very uncomfortable place. Selebi after all did describe Agliotti as “my friend, finish and klaar” and admitted to receiving calls from Agliotti on the night Kebble was murdered.
The questions still surrounding the forensic investigation of the murder are even more troubling. How could Kebble’s car be released from police custody the very next day and be cleaned before forensic investigators had a chance to go over it?
This also puts Selebi’s attempt to put the NPA’s Scorpion’s under SAPS control in a new light. Both the SAPS and the NPA were investigating the murder but it was the Scorpions who made the arrrest.
You read that headline right. The entire current labour court system may be ruled unconstitutional. It seems that the manner in which judges are appointed to the labour court, specifcally the input of NEDLAC and the fact that unlike other judges labour court judges only receive their assignments for 10 years, intereferes with the independence of the judiciary.
The issue of labour has always been a delicate issue in South Africa. Which is why there should be some concern that every single judgement passed in the labour court is now in question and could be legally challenged throwing the labour courts into complete chaos. While I’m sure that the Justice Dept and the Constitutional Court won’t allow every ruling to be challenged the uncertainty this creates can not be good, for workers and for business.
Auditor-General Shauket Fakie is due to leave the post later this year and who can blame him. The Auditor-General is possibly one of the most depressing jobs in government as you dutifully report on financial management troubles and advise on ways to correct them only to have government ignore you completely.
In the past few weeks the Auditor-General’s office has released report after report slating the financial mismanagement at the departments of Home Affairs, Justice and Housing as well as local governments. Doing all that detective work and then watching while it continues unabated must depress even the most optimistic of people. Let’s hope that the candidates being interviewed – Deputy Auditor-General Terence Nombembe, the auditor-general’s corporate executive officer, Diatile Zondo, and the chief executive officer of the Independent Regulators Board of Auditors, Kariem Hoosain – have got the required mindset (or a recurring prescription for anti-depressants).
Although considering the exemplary work the AG’s office has been doing lately and the challenges that still remain you would expect better then a 5% increase in budget?
I have to agree with Tony Leon, there have been too many amendments to the Constitution of South Africa. Although I don’t think it’s ‘under threat’ per se’, the number of amendments passed so far do seem to make the constitution less ‘written in stone’ than it should be.
As an example it took the US 162 years to pass 14 amendments to their constitution. It should take us about 12. Perhaps that is because of the differing nature of the each constitution. The US constitution is a document defining what government may or may not do, while ours is one that tells the people what thet may or may not do.
Any attempt to limit the functions and jurisdiction of the judiciary is an interference with its independence and therefore a danger to be avoided
When George Bizos starts getting nervous about laws that threaten the independence of the courts then it’s serious stuff. The proposed laws might make the courts more efficient but they seem to do so by eroding the courts independence and it’s ability to act as a counter measure to the Execulature (A totally made up word: Executive and and Legislature combined, as it basically is today).
He’s hoping for some further negotiation before any laws are passed and I hope so as well. It’s really hard to pronounce Execulaturiciary.
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