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Published: 19 Jul 2012
|DA: Statement by Debbbi Schafer, Democratic Alliance Shadow Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, commenting about the legal costs of Adv. Menzi Simelane (19/07/2012)|
Justice Minister Jeff Radebe has confirmed that the State is paying for the legal costs of Adv. Menzi Simelane in the court challenge by the DA to his appointment as National Director of Public Prosecutions.
According to the Minister’s response to my parliamentary question, an amount of R1 770 325 has been spent on Simelane’s legal costs to date.
The DA is of the view that, if Adv. Simelane chose to defend this matter, he should pay for it himself. Obviously he was cited as a party to the action, as his position is affected, but as the Minister quite rightly points out, the challenge is not as a result of any incorrect action alleged to have been taken by Simelane, but by the President.
The logical course of action by Simelane would have been to abide by the decision of the court. The fact that he has chosen to defend the matter is his right, but it should then be done at his own expense. He has been earning the salary of a National Director of Public Prosecutions since 2009, and continues to do so, even though he is not working as a result of the “special leave” he reportedly requested pending the finalisation of this matter.
Simelane’s defence is to protect his personal interests. We have all along been of the view that he was not an appropriate person for the job and was put there by the President to protect political interests.
A full bench of the Supreme Court of Appeal has held that the appointment was unlawful, yet Radebe continues to fund Simelane’s defence on appeal. It is a disgrace that public funds are used to protect personal and party interests in this way.
I will be raising questions on this matter during the course of Parliamentary committee discussions with the NPA and will ask for an opinion from the Auditor-General as to whether this constitutes legitimate expenditure.