SAHRC on the circumstances surrounding the reported investigations into Advocates Madonsela and Hofmeyer
Thursday, 28 July 2011
The SA Human Rights Commission is monitoring ongoing developments relating to reported investigations against the Public Protector, Adv Thuli Madonsela, and the Head of the Asset Forfeiture Unit, Adv Willie Hofmeyer.
The Commission has also noted suggestions and reports to the effect that one of the senior officers identified by the Office of the Public Protector as being compromised is the same one overseeing the Hawks’ investigation against Adv Hofmeyer.
The Asset Forfeiture Unit and the Office of the Public Protector play a vital role in supporting democracy and accountability and in the fight against corruption. The manner in which any investigation is pursued needs to ensure that the independence of these institutions is not undermined and their ability to perform their work is not threatened.
The Commission believes that any investigation into any of the personnel or work of institutions such as the Public Protector and the Asset Forfeiture Unit needs to be, and must be seen to be, independent of any attempt to undermine the work of these institutions.
As a highly specialised body the Hawks could have been ideally placed to conduct or lead investigations into such matters, however should one their officers have a personal and vested interest in undermining one or both of the institutions, the Hawks could be regarded as partial and therefore unsuitable to conduct such an investigation.
It is important that the way in which this matter is handled does not have an adverse impact on the fight against corruption which negatively affects the advancement of human rights as it diverts resources that are needed to improve the lives of citizens.
All efforts must therefore be made to ensure that these two institutions, and similar others, are protected so that they can continue with their work free from any interference or intimidation from any source.
The Commission welcomes the government’s assurances that Adv Madonsela will be protected and has also noted the intervention of the Minister of Justice in Adv Hofmeyer’s matter. The Commission nonetheless remains firmly convinced that the key to defending these institutions, their leaders and personnel from interference and intimidation is to ensure that any investigation that may be required involves only those who are clearly able to be, and to be seen to be independent.
It is in the interests of our democracy that those who were involved in any fabrication of a docket number purporting to be for the arrest of Adv Madonsela be held to account. In addition, the manner in which the counter-charge lodged by Mr Dave King against Adv Hofmeyer needs to be dealt with, should recognise the well-worn adage that attack is often used as the strongest means of defence.
The Commission is calling on Government to secure all institutions created to support our democracy. It is also calling on institutions such as Parliament, civil society and members of the public, to continue rallying behind the Office of the Public Protector and the Special Investigations Unit.
For further enquiries: Vincent Moaga on 073 562 9866
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