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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Affidavit from Vusi Mona

VUSI MONA APPROACHES CONSTITUTIONAL COURT, PUBLIC PROTECTOR, HUMAN RIGHT COMMISSION AND JUSTICE MINISTER ABOUT NGCUKA'S BRIEFING TO EDITORS

1. Why I have taken this decision

THE meeting the National Director of Public Prosecutions Mr Bulelani Ngcuka held with black editors in late July has become an issue.

Not one of the editors who attended the meeting has to date come out publicly to tell South Africans what transpired at that meeting. I am told that my misgivings about that meeting has upset a number of people, both inside and outside the media.

There are stories circulating in the media and in political circles about what was said at that meeting. The dictum on the one hand that the press lives by disclosure, and the sanctity of the off-the-record principle on the other, have divided the media, with some arguing the latter should be observed under all circumstances.

There are those, and I am one of them, who argue that the off-the-record principle is not absolute. In an off-the-record session where the spirit and letter of the country's Constitution are violated, the sanctity of this principle falls away.

Indeed, in an off-the-record session where no regard is paid to the Bill of Rights – which protects the basic and fundamental rights with which every person is born – the sanctity of this principle falls away.

In fact, the sanctity of this principle is subject to the country's Constitution and not the other way round. Therefore, where a citizen's constitutional rights are violated, under the guise of an off-the-record briefing, it is the Constitution (which contains the Bill of Rights) that must prevail and not the sanctity of off-the-record.

One is aware that all rights in the Bill may be limited. But I am advised the fact that people are being investigated or have been investigated by the state does not limit their right to have their inherent human dignity respected and protected. This right is enshrined in the country's Constitution.

The state, including the National Prosecuting Authority, is bound to respect, protect, promote and fulfill the rights in the Bill. The off-the-record pronouncements Mr Ngcuka made to black editors suggest he is not bound by the country's Constitution and Bill of Rights. This is dangerous.

I am also advised that the remark Mr Ngcuka made at the meeting about the relationship Deputy President Jacob Zuma has with people of Indian descent bordered on racism. In terms of the country's Constitution, nobody, including the head of the National Prosecuting Authority, may advocate hatred or prejudice based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion. The remark about Indians was a poor showing by Mr Ngcuka.

I am also advised that the pronouncements by Mr Ngcuka about certain cases he is investigating was a breach of the Act that established the National Prosecuting Authority.

In a properly observant world with a critical media, all these issues should have been picked up immediately after the briefing Mr Ngcuka held with the editors.

Instead, there has been lots of distortions and cover-ups about that meeting. Mr Ngcuka occupies an important position in the country's judicial system. The silence-of the media, the opposition and society in general about his conduct and pronouncements at that meeting is a slippery road to the abuse of power.

Mr Ngcuka's conduct and pronouncements showed the development of a trend which a democracy like ours would be foolish to ignore, even if editors and journalists often accept it with "cynicism, innocence or a gruesome compound of the two".

Apart from one having been misled about the true purpose of the meeting, which in-itself nullifies my obligation to respect the off-the-record principle under which the meeting was held, the constitutional issues raised above are, in my view, serious.

The fact of the matter is that a meeting that was called to give editors the background about an anonymous e-mail about Mr Ngcuka turned out to be wide-ranging and a vitriolic character assassination session against some of the people who were mentioned at the meeting.

In the light of the above, I have decided to hand my recollection of the meeting to = the president of the Constitutional Court, the Public Protector, the Human Rights Commission and the Minister of Justice.

2. Specifics about the meeting

In the afternoon of duly 24, I received two calls - one from Mr Bulelani Ngcuka and another from his spokesperson Mr Sipho Ngwema - inviting me to a meeting at a hotel in Sandton. I was told the meeting was about the anonymous e-mail about Ngcuka that was circulating in the media.

However, to my shock, the meeting was more than that. Mr Ngcuka wanted an undertaking from editors that they will reveal to him their sources about stories that may circulate about him in the media.

The editors refused to commit to Mr Ngcuka but did say they were going to do the right thing. What this right thing is, was not spelt out.

Mr Ngcuka kicked off by addressing himself to the e-mail that was circulating in the media about him. The e-mail contained a litany of damaging allegations against him. Mr Ngcuka said he had a good idea who was behind the e-mail. He alleged that the e-mail was sent from the United States, ostensibly by people working in cahoots with people in SA.

He dismissed it as an attempt by those he was investigating to smear him. He threatened all the editors, singling out City Press, that if any of us published contents of the e-mail, he was "going to sue the pants off you and charge you with criminal defamation".

During the meeting, Mr Ngcuka went on the most vicious character assassination and invasion of individual privacy against some of the people mentioned below.

2.1 On Deputy President Jacob Zuma

Mr Ngcuka said the deputy president was leaving beyond his means and could

not meet his monthly financial obligations. To make ends meet, he said, the deputy president was being financed by Mr Schabir Shaik and Mr Vivian Reddy. He said the tendency by Zuma to surround himself with Indians had put him in trouble.

He portrayed the deputy president as being at the beck and call of Mr Shaik, asserting that in the relationship between Mr Zuma and Mr Shaik, the latter called the shots.

Mr Ngcuka said he was not going to prosecute the deputy president but was going to adopt a Pontius Pilate approach. He would, he said, wash his hands off the matter and leave Mr Zuma in the court of public opinion.

His analysis of Mr Zuma left some of us with a clear message: The deputy president was corrupt, heavily borrowed and not in control of his finances.

2.2 On Mr Schabir Shaik, Mr Nelson Mandela and the ANC

Mr Ngcuka said he was going to charge Mr Shaik for fraud and corruption. He blamed Mr Shaik of not cooperating with the investigation and therefore causing a delay in finalizing the investigation into the deputy president.

He said by constantly challenging the investigation in court, Mr Shaik was in effect putting the deputy president in an awkward position as the matter could not be speedily resolved.

He said Mr Zuma was powerless and could not persuade Mr Shaik to cooperate with the investigation. Contrary, he said, on the investigation into Mr Mac Maharaj, the former transport minister had told Mr Shaik to cooperate with the investigators.

Mr Ngcuka said this again, proved who was calling the shots in the Zuma-Shaik relationship. In the Shaik-Maharaj relationship, the latter was calling the shots, unlike in the Zuma-Shaik relationship.

As he was talking about Mr Shaik, Mr Ngcuka brought in the name of former –president Nelson Mandela. He said Mr Mandela was angry with Mr Shaik because of ANC money he (Mr Shaik) has stoien in the past.

Mr Shaik, he said, used to carry the late ANC treasurer Mr Nkobi's "briefcase" when the latter was fundraising abroad.

Mr Ngcuka said Mr Shaik pocketed some of the money and for that Mr Mandela was angry against Mr Shaik.

He also said Mr Mandela had tried to mediate between him and Mr Zuma but had backed off after the deputy president had angrily told Mr Mandela to stay out of the matter as this was a political campaign against him (Mr Zuma).

Mr Ngcuka said Mr Mandela had told him, after meeting with Mr Zuma, that he had never seen the deputy president so angry. Mr Mandela, said Mr Ngcuka, told him he was washing his hands off the matter.

2.3 On Mr Mac Maharaj and his wife

Mr Ngcuka said Mr Maharaj is a straight-faced liar. He said when the Scorpions confronted him to explain an expensive computer Mr Shaik had bought for him, Mr Maharaj said there was no way Mr Shaik could have paid for the computer. This, in spite of Mr Shaik having admitted to the Scorpions that he had indeed paid for the computer.

He called Mr Maharaj naive for claiming that money deposited by Mr Shaik into his joint account with his wife was for work done by Mrs Maharaj for one of Mr Shaik's companies.

He said Mr Maharaj had unwittingly exposed his wife and he was going to charge Mrs Maharaj for tax evasion because she had not disclosed that income.

2.4 On the ANC and "dubious" white businessmen

Mr Ngcuka expressed concern about the ANC's silence on the investigation into the deputy president. He said it worried him that Luthuli House (ANC headquarters) was not closing ranks around him.

He then attacked his own party, saying it had a tendency to defend dubious white business characters.

He said there were people in the ANC, particularly the Youth League, who were lobbying him to spare the Kebbles (Roger Kebble is facing charges relating to his business activities in mining).

He said he was aware that the Kebbles were funding certain individuals within the ANC. Some within the ANC, especially the Youth League, had been bought cars by the Kebbles, he said.

Ngcuka said when some in the ANC approach him to plead for mischievous white businessmen caught on the wrong side of the law, they say: "Hhayi, myeke lo, ngumlungu wethu", meaning, "Leave this one, he is our white person."

2.5 On tensions between himself (Mr Ngcuka) and National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi

Responding to a question on why he dropped tax charges against soccer boss Mr Irvin Khoza, Mr Ngcuka said he was aware Mr Selebi was spreading rumours that he (Mr Ngcuka) decided not to prosecute Mr Khoza because the soccer boss has a picture of a baby Mr Ngcuka has allegedly fathered with a minor. He emphatically denied having fathered a baby with a minor.

He said there was no evidence against Mr Khoza and even if he had taken the matter to court, he was not going to secure a conviction. He blamed the South African Police Service (SAPS) for having messed up the investigation into Mr Khoza.

He said when SAPS raided Mr Khoza's house, they did not have the paper work authorizing them to do so. The Scorpions had to come to the scene later to save the situation, he said.

He minced no words about the tension between himself and the national police commissioner. He said he was one day summoned to the president's house after Selebi had gone there to complain to the president that the Scorpions had stolen from the police a docket about the Molope Group investigation and the role played by Mr Cyril Ramaphosa in that company.

He said Mr Ramaphosa had cooperated with him and as a result he (Ramaphosa) was not going to be prosecuted but would turn state witness against two former Molope Group directors.

2.6 On Billy Rautenbach

Mr Ngcuka also made comments about businessman Billy Rautenbach, alleging that the latter had conducted a clandestine investigation against him (Mr Ngcuka). He said he had confronted Rautenbach about this and the latter had admitted and said he needed to know more about the man (Mr Ngcuka) who was investigating him.

2.7 On Mr Irvin Khoza and Justice Minister Penuell Maduna

Although he had said there was no case against Mr Khoza, he said Mr Khoza, at the time he was facing tax charges, had approached Minister Maduna to make representations that he should not be sent to jail.

Mr Ngcuka said Mr Khoza admitted that he had been a naughty fellow in the past but had now stopped. He said Mr Khoza had pleaded with Minister Maduna, telling him how scared he was of going to jail because inmates might rape him and he could come out HIV-positive.

Mr Ngcuka expressed this in Zulu and it sounded very crass. He said Mr Khoza had said to Minister Maduna: "Madoda, angifuni ukuya ejele. Labafana bazongibhebha. Ngizophuma ejele ngine-Aids." The translation would read as follows: "Gents, I don't want to go to jail. These inmates will fuck me and I will come out of prison being HIV positive."

3. Conclusion

It is my view that this was not an off-the-record briefing as understood in journalism. It was a character assassination session and I will not be party to concealing its purpose and the pronouncements which were made by the National Director of Public Prosecutions.

I have therefore decided to hand this document to the people and/institutions whom it is part of their responsibility to uphold the rule of law and promote a culture of human rights.

[Signed at Johannesburg on 03/10/2003 VUSI MONA 0833293374]

I, Phalane Motale; editor of Sunday Sun, to the best of my recollection certify that Vusi Mona's account of the meeting with Bulelani Ngcuka and the editors in Sandton on July 24, 2003 is what transpired.

PHALANE MOTIALE Signed at JOHANNESBURG on October 3, 2003.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.