Min­is­ter should step down

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

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.

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