/ 20 September 2008

Heath lashes out at ‘bizarre’ NPA appeal

Former judge Willem Heath, recently identified by the Mail & Guardian as part of an ANC ”brains trust” to get ANC president Jacob Zuma off the hook, has launched a scathing attack on the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) decision to appeal against last week’s Pietermaritzburg High Court judgement.

Heath has also called for criminal charges to be laid against President Thabo Mbeki, former justice minister Penuell Maduna and former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka for their ”irregular interference in the administration of justice”.

And, he says, Mbeki should be removed as state president by the tabling of a motion of no confidence in Parliament.

”The findings of Judge Chris Nicholson— will profoundly impact on South Africa. It is probably the most important judgement delivered in this country in the past many years,” Heath said on Thursday.

”What is macabre is that the NPA has decided to lodge their intent to appeal the judgement. The NPA, represented by Billy Downer SC and Wim Trengove SC in their battle against Zuma, has been given a long overdue chastising for their maverick behaviour — behaviour which is not limited to the Zuma case.”

Heath found it ”astounding” that two senior counsel ”did not recognise the procedural irregularities perpetrated by the three consecutive [national directors of public prosecutions] and allowed themselves to be led by such irregularities”.

Heath called the appeal ”bizarre”, saying the NPA ”soldier on for a cause which can only be their own”.

Nicholson’s findings, he said, were tantamount to prima facie evidence of contraventions of the NPA Act by Mbeki, Maduna and Ngcuka. This should be pursued. South Africans should be protected against the ”systematic abuse, detailed in the judgement, of organs of state by the president and his purported henchmen”.

The only way to achieve this might be to table a motion of no confidence in the National Assembly to remove Mbeki from office.

”If the behaviour found by Nicholson is not addressed, the application of the principle of the separation of powers will remain at the whim of those who have seemingly been using it most effectively for personal gain,” said Heath.