'Zuma will respect Simelane ruling'

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said Zuma will respect and abide by the ruling.

Menzi Simelane’s November 2009 appointment as National Director of Public Prosecutions has been highly contested. Picture: Sapa

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma will respect and abide by the Constitutional Court judgment declaring the appointment of National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Menzi Simelani as invalid, the Presidency said on Friday.

The top court ruled on an application by the Democratic Alliance (DA) to confirm a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling, declaring Simelane's 2010 appointment as unconstitutional.

In December, the Bloemfontein court ruled that Zuma's decision was irrational.

This after Simelane misled the Ginwala Commission of Inquiry looking into the 2008 suspension of former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Vusi Pikoli.

Speaking to Talk Radio 702's Stephen Grootes, Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said the Constitutional Court ruling does not mean Zuma's decision was wrong.

"The president respects and will abide by this ruling."

Justice Ministry spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the department does not agree with the latest judgment.

"We held a different view and we argued differently. However, we have to live with the judgment. The Constitutional Court has the final say, so we have to respect that."

Judges all agreed that Simelane could not be appointed as NDPP, but decisions taken by him were still valid.

The Justice Ministry argued that the SCA's decision placed an illegal restriction on Zuma's power.

Simelane himself said the court was wrong to claim Zuma's decision had to be reasonable and procedurally fair.

The 2008 inquiry, chaired by Frene Ginwala, was established to probe whether Pikoli was fit to hold office.

The hearing found that Simelane's conduct as Justice Department Director-General was "irregular" and that his testimony was "contradictory".