Hefer: Scramble for apartheid-era documents

Despite objections, the opening submissions of Mac Maharaj and Mo Shaik before the Hefer Commission of Inquiry were postponed on Wednesday to November 17.

The two men’s advocate, Stephen Joseph SC, asked Judge Joos Hefer for the postponement, saying it was needed to obtain apartheid-era documents to support their testimony. These were files held by the apartheid government’s security branch on various organisations considered a security risk, Joseph said.

Among the specified files were reports given by various apartheid security officers.

Lawyers for National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka and Justice Minister Penuell Maduna accused Maharaj and Shaik of being on a ”fishing expedition” to substantiate their earlier allegations.

Maharaj and Shaik made several public statements in the past few weeks alleging that Ngcuka had been investigated by the African National Congress for being an apartheid spy.

These allegations triggered the Hefer Commission, who must investigate whether Ngcuka was an apartheid spy and whether he and Maduna abused their official powers.

Advocate Marumo Moerane SC, for Ngcuka and his National Prosecuting Authority, said they did not understand the postponement request at all, ”except if it was a ruse to avoid giving evidence to the commission.

”All along they (Maharaj and Shaik) were prepared to tell anyone who would listen there was confirmation that my client was a spy,” Moerane said.

”According to our knowledge, they had the documents prepared to give to the press.”

Joseph insisted that the documents were relevant to the investigation. The postponement should be granted because ”whatever harm there was to be done, has already been done”, he said.

When asked by Hefer why they required the documentation only now, after making several public statements, Joseph said he could not answer ”spontaneously”.

The judge ruled that all would be in a better position to assist in the investigation if the particular documents were in possession of all the parties. He said thus far the commission had no documents to prove whether Ngcuka was an apartheid spy or not.

Commission secretary John Bacon afterwards confirmed that Joseph had submitted to the commission a seven-page-long list of documents to be obtained. – Sapa

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Tunisia struggles to grow more wheat as Ukraine war bites

Since the Ukraine war sent global cereal prices soaring, import-dependent Tunisia has announced a push to grow all its own durum wheat, the basis for local staples like couscous and pasta.

Democracy under serious and sustained attack from within the US

Far-right Republicans and the conservative supreme court are working on a carefully laid plan to turn the US into a repressive regime

Grilling for UK leader Boris Johnson after top ministers quit

The prime minister has faced lawmakers' questions after two of the most senior figures in his government resigned. The finance and health ministers said they could no longer tolerate the culture of scandal

Declare an ‘energy emergency’, says National Planning Commission

The commission said the goals of the National Development Plan, which it is charged with advancing, ‘cannot be achieved without energy security’
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×