Zuma appoints new SIU acting head

President Jacob Zuma has appointed deputy national director of public prosecutions, advocate Nomvula Mokhatla, to act as the head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), the presidency said on Wednesday.

“She takes over from Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, the deputy national director of public prosecutions, who has been acting in this position since the announcement of the resignation of Advocate Willem Heath last week,” the presidency said in a statement.

Zuma appointed Heath in November and within days he gave an interview to City Press newspaper in which he accused former president Thabo Mbeki of orchestrating rape and corruption charges against Zuma.

Mbeki has denied the allegations and challenged Heath to produce proof. Heath has not done so, and instead resigned as SIU chief last week after various quarters questioned his suitability for the job.

In a statement to the Witness newspaper in Durban, Heath later said: “The events of the past two weeks have created the impression that I am unable to head the SIU independently.


“Correct or not, the initial media coverage of an interview in which I participated left the impression that I made unqualified statements of political events which may be unbecoming of the head of the SIU,” he had said.

Mokhatla has served in the litigation unit of the department of justice and prior to that practised as an advocate at the Pretoria and Johannesburg Bars.

Jiba’s earlier appointment as acting head of the SIU was also questioned. It has been reported that Jiba was suspended from the National Prosecuting Authority after her alleged involvement in a police investigation into senior prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj has maintained Mokhatla ascension was “above board”.

“This is a temporary appointment as was Jiba’s. Nothing stops the president from making appointments that are temporary. The longer term solution to the position will be sought once all due process is followed,” Maharaj told the Mail & Guardian. — Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

‘Prisoner 913’: The long, zigzagging path to Mandela’s release

A new book draws on the secret archive of NP justice minister Kobie Coetsee to paint a detailed picture of the lead-up to Nelson Mandela’s release. Shaun de Waal spoke to co-author Riaan de Villiers

Repression in Zimbabwe exposes South Africa’s weakness

The pattern is now well established: crisis, intervention, promises by the Zanu-PF regime to behave, and then relapse after a decent interval to the sort of behaviour that prompted the latest crisis in the first place.

Eskom refers employees suspected of contracts graft for criminal investigations

The struggling power utility has updated Parliament on investigations into contracts where more than R4-billion was lost in overpayments

Xenophobia chips away at the African notion of ubuntu

The multifaceted and complex issues facing the continent can only be tackled effectively together

Public must develop safe death rites

Experience in Brazil, West and South Africa show how ‘people’s science’ can manage deadly illnesses

Coronavirus: What lies ahead?

The coronavirus pandemic places moral, economic, and political questions before us. Only two answers remain: socialism or barbarism
Advertising

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Air pollution link in 15% of global Covid-19 deaths

Researchers have found that, because ambient fine particulate air pollution aggravates comorbidities, it could play a factor in coronavirus fatalities

Mboweni plans to freeze public sector wage increases for the...

The mid-term budget policy statement delivered by the finance minister proposes cutting all non-interest spending by R300-billion.

SAA to receive R10.5-billion government bailout after all

Several struggling state-owned entities received extra funds after the medium term budget policy speech

BMW X3 thrives in the M stable

The compact SUV is so at home with its new badge that’s it’s surprising it didn’t happen sooner
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday