Justice Minister Jeff Radebe assured: No strained relations in the NPA
22 Jul 2011
Yesterday (Thursday, 21 July 2011) I convened a meeting in my Pretoria office where both the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Adv Menzi Simelane and his deputy, Mr Willie Hofmeyr, the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) head, were in attendance. Based on the views expressed and assurances they gave, I am in a position to indicate that there are no strained relations between the National Director and his deputy, Willie Hofmeyr.
There are those who seem to have made it their business to create confusion through making false claims about the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in general and the AFU in particular. This wrong diet is sadly fed to the media in order to paint a bleak picture about the state of affairs in the NPA.
I had a frank and open discussions with the two heads on two main issues.
The first one was in relation to the perceived extinction of the AFU in the NPA. To this end I would like to restate and reassure the AFU staff and all South Africans that the Asset Forfeiture Unit will continue to remain in the NPA as a critical and effective function in the fight against crime and corruption. There is no intention to do away with this function. In any event this function is provided for in our the law.
The other matter relates to the complaint against Willie Hofmeyr in connection with the Dave King investigation. From the time this complaint was brought to the attention of the NPA, it was processed through internal procedures, handled by the Integrity Management Unit (IMU) within the NPA.
As a matter of principle, complaints of improper behaviour against any official in the NPA, regardless of their seniority level, are directed to the IMU. Any decision to refer any complaint for possible criminal investigation against any official rests with the IMU and not the National Director. In the Hofmeyr matter, the IMU saw no basis to depart from that principled practice and consequently referred the matter to the South African Police Service for possible investigation. Hofmeyr accepts this position as the requisite due process aspect of our law.
In fairness to all parties concerned, including Hofmeyr and the complainant, it is important that we all give the Police space to conduct and conclude this investigation without undue pressure in order to get to the bottom of this complaint.
The fight against crime and corruption remains one of the five main priorities of our government.
The NPA leadership recognises the need to rally behind a common purpose in order to achieve a shared government vision of combating crime and corruption. They further recognise that the NPA and all its components occupy a strategic position in the fight against crime and corruption.
As government, we remain committed to lending support and providing guidance where necessary in an effort to ensure that the NPA never gets derailed.
Statement issued by Tlali Tlali, Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, July 22 2011
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