Monday, July 26, 2004

BBC - South Africa's Chief Prosecutor Quits

This story is far from encouraging.

South Africa's controversial chief prosecutor has handed in his letter of resignation, after leading a tough anti-corruption drive.
Bulelani Ngcuka has been at the centre of a political storm for the past year after implicating Vice-President Jacob Zuma in a corruption scandal.
But Mr Ngcuka's spokesman denied reports that he had come under government pressure to stand down.
President Thabo Mbeki has not yet said whether he will accept the resignation.

[............]

Mr Ngcuka last year announced there was prima facie evidence to suspect Mr Zuma of corruption in a multi-million dollar arms deal, but not enough to prosecute him.
Mr Zuma, a favourite to succeed Mr Mbeki, angrily responded that his reputation was being tarnished, but he was not being given the opportunity to clear his name in court.
Shortly after Mr Ngcuka's allegations about Mr Zuma, South African media reported that he had been an apartheid spy.
A presidential commission of inquiry was set up, which exonerated him.
I suppose accusing someone of having been an "apartheid spy" is South Africa's own rhetorical equivalent of what calling an American a "Commie Symp" was in the 1950s, and what calling a Palestinian a "Zionist collaborator" is today - a handy bit of ad hominem that's almost guaranteed to deflect the audience's attention from the real issue at hand.