Chikane contradicts himself, inquiry hears

Presidency Director General Frank Chikane made conflicting statements about his treatment at the hands of the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), the Ginwala commission heard on Thursday.

Chikane earlier told the hearing into whether suspended National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Vusi Pikoli was fit to hold office, that he had been treated badly by the NDPP.

However, Pikoli’s lawyer Tim Bruinders on Thursday produced a letter Chikane wrote to City Press in August 2007, praising the unit.

This was in contrast with his testimony on Wednesday that he was unhappy with a plea-bargain agreement that saw apartheid-era law and order minister Adriaan Vlok and others prosecuted for trying to poison him.

Chikane said he had been treated with hostility and insensitivity and wrote a letter to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development complaining about this.

But his letter to City Press reads in parts: ”Hopefully, the outcome of the court will serve to renew our collective trust in the integrity of our legal system, particularly in its proven capacity to handle sensitive and complicated political matters in an unbiased manner.”

He wrote that ”the evidence that NPA guidelines can facilitate a win-win outcome is there for all to see. One can only hope that the wisdom of working within the law is recognised widely.

”The uniqueness of our jurisprudence — however imperfect — to deal with conflicts of the past is a marvel for most of the world. I suspect the manner in which we have handled the case related to Vlok and others will have important lessons inside and outside our country.”

Asked by Bruinders why he wrote this, when he had felt aggrieved by the way that he had been treated, Chikane said it was not his manner as head of the presidency to deal with such matters in public.

”I could have gone out of court and said I denounce the NDPP … there were other ways of doing it.”

He did not want a controversy in public about how these matters were dealt with.

”It’s not my way of doing things.”

Instead he wrote a letter to the minister, raising his concerns. – Sapa

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