SA's credibility on the line: Spotlight falls on key Zuma and NPA players

ANALYSIS – Bombshell evidence that is said to point to executive interference has placed the spotlight on a range of key players in the Zuma/National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) drama over the past few years and threans to tear down reputations in South Africa.

And there are many as yet unanswered questions which are understood to be posed by the new evidence in the possession of the Zuma team.

Bulelani Ngcuka is a former head of the NPA and married to former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo- Ngcuka, who joined Cope last month.

Ngcuka is an attorney by profession and is now a successful businessman. Once again there is the question of whether his notorious statement, that Zuma would not be prosecuted despite prima facie evidence, was discussed with the presidency beforehand.

Another question is whether there had been an agreement that Zuma would step down as deputy president and be replaced by Ngcuka’s wife.

Then there is whether he continued to remain involved with the affairs of the NPA even after he quit his position at its helm.

Leonard McCarthy headed the Scorpions until he was appointed, in May last year, to lead the World Bank’s anti-corruption department.

McCarthy has held a number of positions in the government, including investigating director in the Office for Serious Economic Offences, deputy attorney-general of the Cape Province and senior public prosecutor.

He was appointed as a director of public prosecutions by former president Nelson Mandela. A key question is whether McCarthy was taking instruction from the presidency and/or others about investigations including those of Zuma, Selebi and Kebble. His role in Browse: Mole, the secret report claiming Zuma was getting foreign funding, is again under scrutiny.

Jackie Selebi is the country’s suspended national police commissioner and a former president of Interpol. Selebi is on extended leave while he fights corruption charges against him.

Now the question arises whether McCarthy was trying to block the probe into Selebi on the instruction of top politicians and whether the interceptions that are now in the possession of Zuma’s team were done by the police while headed by Selebi.

Ronnie Kasrils was minister of intelligence, and is a former minister of water affairs and forestry and deputy minister of defence. Kasrils is a former ANC intelligence chief.

Kasrils created a furore when he axed Billy Masetlha amid the "hoax e-mail row". A burning query is whether Kasrils was aware that state spooks were spying on each other and senior officials and politicians as indicated by the tapes.

Willie Hofmeyr has headed up the Special Investigating Unit since August 2001 after the Constitutional Court found that former judge Willem Heath (now a Zuma legal adviser) could not head the unit. He is also one of three deputy national directors of prosecutions, and heads the Assets Forfeiture Unit, established in the NPA in May 1999.

Hofmeyr previously served as an ANC MP and he was parliamentary adviser to then deputy president Thabo Mbeki. As a senior member of the parliamentary justice committee he played a key role in the drafting of much of the anti-crime legislation adopted in South Africa over the past seven years. Now Hofmeyr is the point-man in talks between the NPA and Zuma’s advisers.

Moe Shaik is a retired super-spook-turned-diplomat and is the older brother of convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik. He is playing a central role in negotiating with the NPA on behalf of Zuma.

Thabo Mbeki relinquished both his posts as president of the country and of the ANC within months after a political bloodbath at Polokwane saw the Zuma camp sweep to power in the ruling party.

Mbeki spent most of his youth outside of the country, returning to become deputy president to Nelson Mandela.

Formerly close to Zuma, events over the past few years saw supporters of Mbeki and Zuma pitted against each other within the party as well as in government.

A major question is whether the Mbeki presidency interfered in the affairs of the Scorpions and NPA, notably in the probes into Selebi, Zuma and the arms deal