Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

The man behind bid to thwart Zimbabwe torture probe

The man behind bid to thwart Zimbabwe torture probe

By NIREN TOLSI – The Guardian 8 hours 54 minutes ago

Suspended prosecutions boss Menzi Simelane appears to be at the centre of an 
attempt to thwart the prosecution in South Africa of Zimbabwean government 
officials accused of torture.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been accused of blocking police 
investigations into the claims of torture made by Zimbabwe opposition 
members against high-ranking officials of that country, who visit South 
Africa from time to time.

An affidavit by Anton Ackermann, a senior NPA member, singles out Simelane, 
the suspended director of public prosecutions, as being behind a campaign to 
stop Ackermann from telling the court how his bid to have the Zimbabwe 
officials investigated was stymied.

Simelane was placed on special leave by President Jacob Zuma in December 
after the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that his appointment was 
“inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid”.

South Africa is obliged under the Rome Statue, which established the 
International Criminal Court, and is part of our domestic law, to enforce 
international criminal law domestically. This includes war crimes, torture, 
and crimes against humanity.

Crimes against humanity

The affadavit was lodged in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria late 
last week by Ackermann, head of the priority crimes litigation unit tasked 
with “managing and directing the investigation and prosecution of crimes”, 
especially crimes against humanity.

In the affadavit, Ackerman claims he was refused separate representation, 
frozen out of the drafting of affidavits and threatened with disciplinary 
action for holding views contrary to those of the NPA on why the South 
African Police Services (SAPS) refused to investigate the matter, which 
relates to an application brought by the Southern African Litigation Centre 
(SALC) and the Zimbabwean Exiles Forum that was due to be heard in the high 
court on Monday morning, but was postponed until an unspecified date after 
Simelane appointed new counsel.

SALC is asking the high court to review and set aside an NPA and SAPS 
decision not to investigate Zimbabwean officials linked to acts of 
state-sanctioned torture following a police raid on the headquarters of the 
Movement for Democratic Change in 2007.

According to Ackermann, he referred the matter to the SAPS for investigation 
in 2008. This was refused. In the affidavit, Ackermann states that he was 
unconvinced as to the reasons given by the police for not investigating and 
expressed concern that they had not even opened a docket or consulted the 
applicants on the matter.

Ackermann says that after the SAPS had formally notified the NPA in May 2009 
that they would not investigate the matter, he had notified then acting-NDPP 
Mokotedi Mpshe that he “was not satisfied with the reasons advanced”.

He was then apparently blocked in his attempts to file papers to air his 
views in court as to why the matter should have been investigated.

‘My version of the facts’

Ackermann states in the affidavit that he “sought to be separately 
represented in this matter” since February 2010 when it became “clear to me 
that my version of the facts and the reasons for the decisions in this 
matter would differ from that of the NDPP”.

But he was then “refused separate representation” on “the basis that my 
version of events was irrelevant and inadmissible and later that it would be 
incorporated into the NDPP’s answering papers”.

In a January 2010 email from the NPA’s advocate, Chris Macadam, who is 
representing Simelane in the matter, Ackermann was notified that his views 
on the police decision were “inadmissible opinion” and that he had to “very 
carefully and seriously consider the implications” of his attempts to file a 
statement — as second respondent in the matter — at odds with the NPA’s 

When the matter was raised with Simelane, the NDPP expressed the opinion in 
an email dated March 2010, that the “NDPP’s affidavit will have to cover all 
the issues that affect the NPA and its role in the matter” and that the 
issues raised by Ackermann “can and will be raised by the NDPP [Simelane] in 
his affidavit”.

However, what followed appears to be attempts to keep Ackermann, and his 
views, out of the court proceedings.

Refused access

Ackermann states that he “was not kept abreast of developments in the 
matter” by the NPA, despite being a second respondent and that Simelane’s 
offer to meet and discuss the NPA’s submissions before the filing of papers 
never transpired.

Ackermann’s proposed counsel for separate representation, NPA prosecutor 
Shaun Abrahams, was also refused access to Simelane’s record with Macadam 
citing privilege on the matter.

In exasperation, it seems, Ackermann sought independent counsel outside of 
the NPA and filed his affidavit on Thursday last week.

On Monday the case was postponed until Tuesday morning, after the NPA’s 
counsel decided that Macadam, who is mentioned extensively in Ackermann’s 
affidavit, would present arguments concerning all facts unrelated to 


Killer poacher jailed 18 years

Killer poacher jailed 18 years   3/7/2019 The Chronicle Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter A POACHER who ganged up with a colleague and fatally attacked a

Read More »

New Posts: