/ 12 February 2010

Simelane ‘can’t lead, spell or manage’

Simelane 'can't Lead

Not only does South Africa’s new prosecutions chief have problems with spelling, he is also a bad manager and was lashed by the Supreme Court of Appeal for his conduct as a competitions commissioner.

That is the thrust of the Democratic Alliance’s latest attack on President Jacob Zuma’s appointment of Menzi Simelane as national director of public prosecutions.

In the North Gauteng High Court the DA is challenging Zuma’s appointment of Simelane to head the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). The party responded to papers filed by Zuma’s legal team this week.

The DA argues that Simelane is not a “fit and proper” person to lead the NPA, as required by law.

In January Zuma’s legal team stated that the president was concerned only with Simelane’s CV when he decided to appoint him.

In his responding affidavit DA MP James Selfe says this means Zuma could not have exercised his power of appointment properly. Zuma did not have before him the CVs of any other possible candidates.

Selfe points out at least 13 errors in Simelane’s CV, including the spelling of “Curriculm” (sic) on the front page of the document.

Five pages long, the CV makes claims including: “My weakness include (sic) my strength, I tend to work very long hours for extended periods thus leading to fatigue.”

According to Selfe, the “slipshod way in which Mr Simelane prepared his CV reflects negatively on his conscientiousness”. He adds: “More disturbingly, the lack of care which he devoted to the task justifies — the inference that Mr Simelane knew that his CV was unimportant because the President had already decided to appoint him.”

Selfe argues that Zuma should have asked for references from his previous employers and would have found that the justice department, of which Simelane was director general between 2005 and 2009, received qualified audit reports from the auditor general in each of the financial years of Simelane’s term.

Selfe quotes from a 2003 Supreme Court of Appeal judgment that found Simelane had “no regard to the harm it might do to its suspects” when he took a group of journalists on a Competition Commission raid of Pretoria Portland Cement.