IFP warns against Mkhize as possible NPA head

South Africa could well be heading towards banana-republic status should Muzi Mkhize be appointed to replace former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Vusi Pikoli, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said on Wednesday.

”Suggestions that advocate Muzi Wilfred Mkhize — a member of Mr Jacob Zuma’s legal team when he was originally charged with corruption and other offences — could be appointed National Director of Public Prosecutions [NDPP] are cause for the gravest concern,” IFP spokesperson Velaphi Ndlovu said.

”It’s quite extraordinary that the African National Congress [ANC] is seemingly hell-bent on appointing an advocate who was assisting the ANC president, who is facing criminal charges as we speak.”

Mkhize’s appointment would violate the ethical standards of the legal profession and would probably be challengeable in the courts on various grounds.

But it would also fatally undermine the notion of the independence of the prosecution service, Ndlovu said.

”If the decision as to whether charges against Mr Zuma should be pursued should become one for advocate Mkhize — and the charges were dropped — it would be so transparent a manipulation of the judicial system that the system itself would be tainted, as would a presidency headed by Mr Zuma.

”Much more is at stake here than the political fortunes of an individual,” he said.

At stake was the credibility of South Africa’s judicial system and the Constitution itself.

The appointment of Mkhize would be a significant step toward South Africa becoming a banana republic.

”Such an appointment would be in line with the ANC pattern over the past 14 years of appointing political cadres to high office.

”But in this case the consequences for the country could be devastating in terms of international credibility and assessment of investor risk.

”The most effective antidote in the short-term would be for the people of South Africa to reject the political cronyism and total incompetence of the ANC in significant numbers in the elections later this year,” Ndlovu said.

On Tuesday, the Cape Times reported that Mkhize had been tipped to take over the hot seat as next NDPP, replacing Pikoli, who was axed by President Kgalema Motlanthe.

The paper reported that legal and political sources said Mkhize’s appointment would be announced next month and he was already putting his team together.

Asked if he knew about his pending appointment, Mkhize said on Monday: ”I have not heard anything about that.”

Mkhize’s legal career had not been without controversy. A complaint was laid against him with the KwaZulu-Natal Society of Advocates in2005 related to a disciplinary hearing he chaired.

He was admonished and fined R10 000, the maximum fine under the society’s rules, the paper reported. — Sapa

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