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09 Jan 2008 07:22
Opposition parties on Tuesday voiced their concern over the National Prosecution Authority’s (NPA) delay in announcing whether it will charge police National Commissioner Jackie Selebi, with the Freedom Front Plus accusing the NPA of double standards.
“The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) displays double standards with its hesitation to decide whether to act against Selebi or not,” FF Plus spokesperson on Safety and Security Pieter Groenewald said in a statement.
The NPA had not hesitated when it charged ANC president Jacob Zuma.
Groenewald also accused the NPA of using Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Brigitte Mabandla as a scapegoat.
“The NPA is now hiding behind the Minister of Justice by stating that they are waiting for the minister to read the report on Selebi,” he said.
Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille on Tuesday requested the NPA to furnish the party with its investigation progress report.
In a letter addressed to NPA acting head Mpshe Mokotedi, De Lille asked the NPA whether it had made a decision on whether or not to charge Selebi.
“Has the NPA concluded its decision on whether or not to prosecute [police] National Commissioner Selebi?
“If yes, by when does the NPA envisage this decision to be released to the public?
“If not, what is the cause of the delay?” she said.
She said it was important to get a direct response from the NPA as “conflicting statements from the NPA are not helping the situation and South Africa needs clarity”.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Democratic Alliance asked that Mpshe be called to Parliament to explain the delay in making public the decision on whether to charge Selebi.
Tertius Delport, the DA’s spokesperson on justice, wrote a letter to Yunus Ismail Carrim, the chairperson of Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice and constitutional development, asking that Mpshe be called
to report on the current situation.
“This lengthy delay has allowed public speculation to proceed unchecked, with a great deal of possible harm done to our criminal justice system,” Delport wrote.
“The potential damage to public confidence in and loss of credibility of the criminal justice system has been severe,” he added.
The DA also planned to ask Parliament to consider establishing an ad hoc committee to explore “civil and state threats” to the justice system and to make recommendations to strengthen the security of the system.
Carrim was not immediately available for comment.
The NPA on December 16 said it had made a decision on whether or not Selebi “had a case to answer”.
However, it said the decision would not be made public until it had been studied by Mabandla.
On Monday Mabandla rejected as “untrue” reports that she had delayed the NPA’s decision.
“The NPA is an independent institution and does not have to get any permission from the minister before charging whoever it wants to charge,” Mabandla’s spokesperson Zolile Nqayi said.
Selebi has come under fire over his involvement with convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti, who is also accused of the murder of mining magnate Brett Kebble.
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