/ 6 January 2009

DA: Probe into Simelane must be transparent

Details of the Public Service Commission’s investigation into the conduct of the Department of Justice Director General Menzi Simelane should be released to the public, the Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday.

”The DA has written to the Minister of Justice, Enver Surty, calling on him to open up the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) investigation into Mr Simelane to public scrutiny,” DA spokesperson on justice Len Joubert said in a statement.

The minister should ensure that the terms of reference for the enquiry were released to the public without any further delay.

”A failure by the minister to do so will undoubtedly cast a cloud of suspicion over these proceedings, in addition to failing to restore public faith in the director general and other justice department officials,” Joubert said.

However, Ministry of Justice spokesperson Zolile Nqayi said it was incorrect for the DA to direct its concerns to Surty as the justice minister was not involved in the investigation.

”The enquiry is being conducted by the PSC under the commission’s rules and regulations — it has nothing to do with the minister,” he said.

Surty requested the PSC to probe Simelane’s conduct after the Ginwala commission investigating former National Prosecution Authority (NPA) boss Vusi Pikoli’s fitness to hold office found that the justice director general had interfered with the independence of the NPA.

Last month the DA called on President Kgalema Motlanthe to remove Simelane from office with immediate effect following the ”damning” findings of the commission.

”The commission found that Mr Simelane was ‘dishonest’ and ‘reckless’ in his submissions to the commission and interaction with the head of the National Prosecution Authority, and that, furthermore, he misled the minister of justice,” said the DA’s Tertius Delport.

”President Motlanthe needs to confirm that the government is serious in its commitment to improve the functioning of this system.

”He cannot do this if he retains Mr Simelane in the pivotal role of director general while it is alleged that he has acted dishonestly and has fundamentally misunderstood the powers and functions of his office,” Delport said. – Sapa