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Hefer shifts from spy claim to alleged power abuse

24th November 2003

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The Hefer Commission's focus should shift in the coming week from the spy claim against head prosecutor Bulelani Ngcuka to his alleged abuse of power.

Commission secretary John Bacon said yesterday Advocate Josiah Boale would testify tomorrow about Ngcuka's alleged abuse of his office as national director of public prosecutions.

Boale was a former member of Ngcuka's National Prosecuting Authority, Bacon said.

He asked to testify before the commission.

After that, the commission hoped to establish more about an off-the-record meeting that Ngcuka called in July with a group of black editors, Bacon said.

Current and former editors whom the commission wanted to call were the Mail & Guardian's Mondli Makhanya, former Sunday Times editor Mathatha Tsedu and former City Press editor Vusi Mona.

Mona has already officially complained about the meeting to the Public Protector, among others.

Former transport minister Mac Maharaj testified in detail in the past week about how Ngcuka allegedly "criminally defamed" him at this meeting.

The NPA is investigating Maharaj and his wife for alleged corruption.

Other journalists who are reportedly on the commission's list of potential witnesses are Elias Maluleke from the City Press and Joe Thloloe of e-tv. Both reported on allegations against Ngcuka.

It is not yet certain whether the journalists will submit to the commission's requests.

The SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) called on Saturday for an immediate withdrawal of the calling of journalists to testify and provide documentation to the commission.

Journalist Ranjeni Munusamy, who first reported on the allegations against Ngcuka, is currently appealing against a high court ruling, which forces her to testify.

The Bloemfontein High Court recently turned down her application for protection against testifying before Judge Joos Hefer.

The new week's commission hearings will kick off on today with further testimony by former intelligence operative Mo Shaik.

Advocate Marumo Moerane, Ngcuka's counsel, still has to finish cross-examining Shaik on his spy claim against his client. – Sapa.
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