Monday, October 20, 2003

The Heffer Commission Round 1: The Sunday Times is reporting that Thabo Mbeki has refused to extend the Heffer commission's mandate to include an investigation of Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

This is depressing but not suprising. The govt is going to try and stage manage this entire process so that as little mud is flung as possible. Of course, in a sense, Mbeki is correct, the commission was established to determine the truth or otherwise of the claim that Bulelani Ngcuka was an apartheid spy and there is no reason why its mandate should be extended to include an entirely different matter. Nevertheless, a number of very damaging allegations have been made and Zuma himself has demanded the right to have his side of the story heard. That being the case, it would seem reasonable to expect that the President would use this opportunity to get to the bottom of all this. In theory, all the allegations and counter-allegations that have been thrown should be damaging the govts credibilty thus providing a very good reason to investigate and, presumably, establish innocence. The suicide of David Kelly and the investigation that it prompted in Britain spring to mind as an example of how to deal with this sort of problem correctly. I suppose it is too much to hope that the ANC would act with a similar level of accountability. As I've said before, I suspect that too many people in too high position are implicated in this to risk a comprehensive and independent investigation. The intention now seems to be to discredit Ngcuka before he can do any more damage. I'll wager a beer that, come what may of the commissions investigation and its findings, Ngcuka will no longer be Director of Public Prosecutions in 6 months time.

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