Decision on Simelane edges closer

Menzi Simelane is facing a disciplinary inquiry after the Ginwala Commission found that he’d lied under oath.

FILE: Menzi Simelane is facing a disciplinary inquiry after the Ginwala Commission found that he’d lied under oath. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - The disciplinary hearing which will decide whether to have Former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Menzi Simelane struck off the roll of advocates is moving closer to a decision after he said on Wednesday he'd never intended to deceive the Ginwala Commission.

He is facing a disciplinary inquiry after the Ginwala Commission found that he'd lied under oath while testifying about his actions at the time, which led to the Constitutional Court ruling he was not fit and proper to run the NPA.

While much of the questioning from prosecutor Mike Hellens focused on Simelane's intent regarding part of his testimony before the commission, it was a note he allegedly passed to his attorney that got the most attention.

That note appears to ask his lawyer which option he should take about clarifying certain evidence, which may lead to questions about whether he's telling the truth during this hearing.

It also means he may have broken certain rules of the advocates' profession.

But Simelane maintains he did nothing wrong.

He has also told the commission he believes the person who lodged the formal complaint against him may have ulterior motives.

Hellens put it to the former NPA head that he'd made claims about Pikoli's conduct in cases relating to Malawian nationals, and about the Scorpions, simply to bolster the case that he should have been suspended.

Hellens said it was clear the only reason then president Thabo Mbeki and Simelane wanted Pikoli suspended was to stop the prosecution of then police commissioner Jackie Selebi.

Simelene has denied this.

He also said a note he passed to his attorney while testifying, asking if he should explain certain evidence, was not a request for help, while under oath.

The inquiry found Simelane had not told the entire truth while testifying under oath.

NOTE: The comments section of this article has been disabled as per a ruling by the General Council of the Bar of South Africa which is holding the hearing.