Thabo Mbeki welcomes SCA findings

The former South African president warns against the "propagation of deliberate falsehoods"

Following careful consideration of Monday's Judgement of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in the matter between the National Director of Public Prosecutions and African National Congress President, Mr Jacob Zuma, former President Thabo Mbeki wishes to make the following observations:

1. I welcome and accept the determinations made by the SCA that Judge Nicholson had no facts before him to suggest that I and the Cabinet interfered with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in its consideration of matters relating to Mr Jacob Zuma.

2. In my Address to the Nation on September 21, 2008, I said: "I would like to restate the position of Cabinet on the inferences made by the Honourable Judge Chris Nicholson that the President and Cabinet have interfered in the work of the National Prosecuting Authority. Again I would like to state this categorically that we have never done this...In this context it is most unfortunate that gratuitous suggestions have been made seeking to impugn the integrity of those of us who have been privileged to serve in our country's National Executive."

3. I agree with the SCA where it says Judge Nicholson made "gratuitous findings against persons who were not called upon to defend themselves...(failed) to distinguish between allegation, fact and suspicion, and ...(transgressed) the proper boundaries between judicial, executive and legislative functions."

4. Accordingly, I also agree with the SCA where it says, "Most of the allegations (of political interference) were not only irrelevant but they were gratuitous and based on suspicion and not on fact."

5. I also agree with the SCA where it says, "Once again, the 'strategy' involving Dr Maduna, Mr Mbeki and all the other members of cabinet as well as the causal connection between the Ngcuka decision and Mr Mbeki and the cabinet as found by the trial judge were not based on any evidence or allegation. They were instead part of the judge's own conspiracy theory and not one advanced by Mr Zuma."

6. Like the SCA, we had found the manner by which Judge Nicholson made negative findings against the President and the Cabinet "incomprehensible".

7. We intervened in the NPA appeal to the SCA because we wanted to correct the unfair and unwarranted inferences made by Judge Nicholson against us, and as the SCA said, we "had ample reason to be upset by the reasons in the judgement which cast aspersions on (us) without regard to (our) basic rights to be treated fairly." The SCA ruling has vindicated us.

8. It seems to me that the unacceptable practice of propagation of deliberate falsehoods to attain various objectives is becoming entrenched in our country. I am pleased that the SCA has provided firm leadership in this regard by insisting that nobody's integrity should be impugned on the basis of untested allegations.

9. All of us as leaders and citizens have the responsibility critically to reflect on this practice in order to avoid the entrenchment of a culture which may eventually corrupt our society.

Issued by the Office of Thabo Mbeki, January 13 2009