on Ethnic Relations / Rapports sur les relations
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/ 13 / 2003
DAY, South Africa
"Minister of Justice quitting
to curb spy-saga fallout" (Rob Rose &
Minister Penuell Maduna, confirming his shock decision to step
down at next year’s elections, said his decision was based
in part on his desire to limit the damage caused to the African
National Congress (ANC) by the fallout that began with corruption
allegations levelled at Deputy President Jacob Zuma.
who asked last week that the terms of reference on the commission
into spying allegations headed by Judge Joos Hefer be broadened
to include him, suggesting that his pending resignation made him
the first high-profile casualty arising from the Zuma affair.
Maduna said he would not be available for re-election as an ANC
MP. However, Maduna has no intention of leaving the party.
terms of the Hefer commission of inquiry, which starts on Wednesday,
have been amended to include charges that Maduna abused his position
and may be guilty of corruption.
follows Maduna asking President Thabo Mbeki to broaden the commission’s
terms of reference after he was the subject of two separate allegations
of corruption, by mining magnate Brett Kebble and justice deputy
director-general Mike Tshishonga.
Hefer commission was originally set up to investigate whether
national public prosecutions director Bulelani Ngcuka spied for
the apartheid government and whether that may have compromised
his position a charge that emerged during his investigation into
corruption allegations against Zuma.
transport minister Mac Maharaj and Mo Shaik are expected to make
submissions at the inquiry, which was allegedly delayed to accommodate
the two men.
Maduna said the charges were linked and part of an orchestrated
smear campaign. “We are fighting an adversary we don’t
know; this is the problem,” he said. However, he was hopeful
the Hefer inquiry would be effective.
is not yet clear whether Tshishonga and Kebble will give evidence,
although Tshishonga’s lawyers made contact on Friday to
obtain the new, terms of reference for the inquiry.
Meanwhile, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has come out
in support of Maduna after he was accused by Tshishonga of intervening
inappropriately in the winding up of Retail Apparel Group (RAG)
to direct that his friend, Enver Motala, be appointed a liquidator.
commissioner Pravin Gordhan said Maduna stepped in after being
asked to do so by SARS in terms of section 371 of the Companies
said the other creditors, notably banks led by FirstRand and the
other four liquidators, disputed SARS’ claim against RAG
and were “improperly blocking us”.
viewed this as unfair our approach was correct, we did believe
section 371 of the Companies Act allowed Maduna to intervene,”
Gordhan said. The courts eventually decided to the contrary.
the ANC said at the weekend there was no evidence that sensitive
information had been stolen when thieves gained access to its
head office last week, stealing a computer hard drive.