The DA wants Menzi Simelane to pay for the appeal against the ruling invalidating his appointment as NPA boss, but the Constitutional Court is required to review the case anyway.
The government should not cover the costs of the appeal against the ruling that Menzi Simelane’s appointment as national director of public prosecutions was unconstitutional, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Monday.
On Monday, the DA’s James Selfe called for Simelane to fund the appeal out of his own pocket, despite the fact that the Constitutional Court is required, in terms of Section 167 (5) of the Constitution, to review any court rulings that overturned a presidential decision, regardless of whether the individuals involved appeal the ruling themselves.
Selfe said in a statement: “Advocate Simelane is obviously entitled, as anyone else living in a constitutional state, to appeal this judgement. But if he no longer holds a position as an official of the government, he is not entitled to fund his appeal at state expense.”
Selfe said the notice of the appeal issued by the state attorney implied that the state would cover Simelane’s costs.
‘Abuse of public funds’
“This constitutes an abuse of public funds, and Advocate Simelane should either foot the bill for his appeal himself, or, like the president, abide by the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal,” he said.
However, Simelane still formally holds the position. He has been placed on special leave by President Jacob Zuma, pending the outcome of the Constitution Court’s review of the SCA’s ruling.
The SCA ruled unanimously on December 1 that Simelane’s appointment as national director of public prosecutions was unconstitutional.
President Jacob Zuma accepted the ruling on December 23 and appointed Simelane’s deputy Nomgcobo Jiba to act in the post.
Simelane was placed on special leave pending a review by the Constitutional Court of the ruling.
In a statement last week clarifying Zuma’s decision to place Simelane on leave, it was revealed that Justice Minister Jeff Radebe would “pursue the matter” in the hopes of “seeking clarity”.
“There are questions that require clarification by the Constitutional Court. It is not automatic that once the matter goes to that court it will endorse things the way we see it — it may change certain positions,” presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj told the Mail & Guardian when quizzed about Zuma’s next move.
In other words, even though Zuma dropped his court challenge, the SCA’s ruling could still be overturned.
As such, Simelane remains in his post until the Constitutional Court passes judgment on the the SCA’s December 1 ruling.
A date has yet to be set by the court to hear the matter. — Additional reporting by Sapa