Minister should step down
JUSTICE Minister Jeff Radebe is probably looking forward to his holidays. He should use the time to take a long hard look at his future.
As the political head of our justice system, it is hard to imagine Radebe had nothing to do with a string of controversial appointments that have em- barrassed President Jacob Zuma and weakened the judiciary, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
Gone after only two weeks is Willem Heath as head of the SIU, after accusing former president Thabo Mbeki of being behind the rape and corruption prosecutions of Zuma.
Heath also said arms deal fraudster Schabir Shaik was a scapegoat, despite the Supreme Court of Appeal’s confirming Shaik’s conviction.
These were startling revelations for anyone to make, but for a man appointed because of his supposed impartiality, they smacked of hidden agendas and vendettas. Heath effectively fired himself, but not before he had embarrassed the presidency.
It was left to Radebe to give Heath, his former special advisor, the push. But another spectacularly ill-informed choice followed – that of Nomgcobo Jiba to replace Heath. The new SIU head at one stage was suspended for trying to derail the investigation into former police head Jackie Selebi.
Recently Zuma had to back down on his attempt to extend the term of office of then chief justice Sandile Ngcobo, which was found to be unconstitutional, and the appointment of Menzi Simelane as the national director of public prosecution was declared invalid by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Either Radebe played a major role in giving ill- considered advice, in which case he must carry the can, or if Radebe was not consulted on these matters, he does not enjoy the confidence of the presidency. Either way, there is only one possible out-
come – Radebe, too, must step down.