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Mbeki's letter to Justice Minister made public

by BuaNews Online
on 11 May 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The Ginwala Commission of Inquiry has on Friday made public a letter from President Thabo Mbeki to Justice Minister Brigitte Mabandla concerning the prosecution of National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi.

"Since it was in the public domain and since it had been used, there was no privilege that could be attached to the letter," Dr Frene Ginwala said on Friday.

She was speaking after adjourning the oral hearings until June 23 and setting them down until July 4 at a venue yet to be announced.

Dr Ginwala is chairing the inquiry into the fitness of Advocate Vusi Pikoli to hold the office of National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).

She was appointed by President Thabo Mbeki following his suspension due to a breakdown in the professional relationship between himself and Justice Minister Brigitte Mabandla.

On Thursday, Dr Ginwala ordered that no public disclosure be made of Mbeki's letter, dated September 17.

This is because the inquiry is internal in nature, she said. "The parts that have been read into the record (are) open and can be referred to."

However, the commission then decided to make the entire contents of the letter available to the media on Friday.

The purpose the hearings was to enable Dr Ginwala to gain additional information to enable to properly consider the maters placed before the commission and take a determination on the issues raised in terms of the reference.

Speaking during the opening of the opening of the commission Dr Ginwala said the inquiry was charting new territory and had to be guided by the Constitution, and adhere to the tenets of natural justice, embody fairness and follow due process.

The first is the exercise of discretion by Adv Pikoli in the decision to prosecute offenders, or grant immunity from prosecution to suspects allegedly involved in organised crime, with particular regard to the public interest and the national security interests of the Republic.

The second main issue to be investigated is the breakdown of the relationship between the Minister of Justice and the National Director of Public Prosecutions, in the context of the legislative and constitutional obligations placed on the minister and the NDPP.

Government's list of witnesses included Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Johnny de Lange, Director General in the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Manala Manzini, Director General in The Presidency Frank Chikane, the acting police Chief Timothy Williams and NIA Deputy Director General Arthur Fraser.

After the hearings, Dr Ginwala will have to submit the commission's reports to President Thabo Mbeki.

Should the President wish to remove Mr Pikoli from office, he will be requires to table a report to Parliament with this recommendation.

Parliament will then discuss the recommendation from the president and may concur with or reject that recommendation.

If it was rejected, the president would have to reinstate Mr Pikoli. - BuaNews

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