Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Friday, December 03, 2004

Mbeki caught out?
The Mail & Guardian reports this morning that during the course of the Shaik trial it has been revealed that Mbeki "misled the nation" during an address on January 19 2001 regarding the Heath investigation.

"Mbeki delivered a stinging attack on Scopa and attempted to justify his decision to exclude the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) led by Judge Willem Heath from the multi-disciplinary investigation of the arms deal, contrary to the recommendation by Scopa.

In his speech, Mbeki referred to legal advice obtained from advocate Frank Kahn, then the Western Cape director of public prosecutions, and advocate Jan Lubbe, then the senior legal adviser to the Heath unit. Mbeki quoted one extract of their advice, which found that “at this stage there is no prima facie evidence in law that any person or persons committed a criminal offence”.

However, he omitted to tell the nation that the two senior lawmen did in fact say there were legally “sufficient grounds” for the Heath unit to conduct an investigation and that, in their opinion, such an investigation was warranted. He also failed to disclose that they endorsed the recommendation by Scopa, saying it was “imperative” that the Heath unit be involved in the multi-agency probe."

Any serious consequences? We shall wait and see...