Hofmeyr ‘changed camps’
Special Investigating Unit (SIU) boss Willie Hofmeyr’s own “political neutrality” should be questioned.
That is the core of former SIU deputy head Faiek Davids’ response after his victory in the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) this week.
CCMA commissioner Bart Ford ruled that Hofmeyr illegally obtained secret recordings – the so-called Zuma spy tapes – on which Davids allegedly features, and that it was inadmissible evidence.
Now Davids wants his job back to continue building the SIU into a “credible forensic investigation entity”, and he wants President Jacob Zuma and prosecutions boss Menzi Simelane to intervene.
According to Davids, there are “serious problems” at the SIU.
He said: “It cannot be business as usual as Mr Hofmeyr says.”
The main charge against Davids related to an alleged conversation between him and former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy that, according to Hofmeyr, formed part of the Zuma tapes.
These tapes were provided to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) – where Hofmeyr is a deputy head – by Zuma’s attorney Michael Hulley to prove a political conspiracy against the president.
Hofmeyr testified at the CCMA that he also heard a conversation between Davids and McCarthy on the tapes during which they referred to a conversation Davids, Hofmeyr and former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka allegedly had at East London Airport.
According to Hofmeyr, Ngcuka said state institutions should be used to support former president Thabo Mbeki in the run-up to the ANC’s Polokwane conference in 2007. Davids denies being part of the airport conversation.
On the tapes, according to Hofmeyr, Davids can be heard telling McCarthy he agrees with Ngcuka’s sentiments and that he didn’t understand how a unit like the SIU could remain impartial in the ANC leadership battle.
Hofmeyr based his recollection of the intercepted conversation on a “contemporaneous note” made on his laptop while listening to the Zuma tapes. The recording of this conversation was never in the possession of Hofmeyr or the NPA.
City Press obtained Hofmeyr’s note, which formed part of the arbitration bundle. Dated and titled “12.12.07 LM and F Davids”, it contains 10 points and begins with a note about a “soccer discussion”.
Other points are:
» “Zuma wins, leave country”;
» “Discuss WH`(Willie Hofmeyr) relationships”;
» “WH talks to wrong people, bet on JZ (Jacob Zuma) winning, talk to people criticise TM (Thabo Mbeki), talks about how JZ will do things, even if knocked out, will have people in place”; and
» “WH started out saying he hates JZ, now he has walked over to his camp”.
The only note relating to East London reads: “WH: EL discussion with BN (Bulelani Ngcuka), why is Pres standing”.
According to Davids, it has “no bearing” on what Hofmeyr testified he allegedly said.
He said: “If anything, on the face of the cryptic notes, (I am) alleged to have cast aspersions on Mr Hofmeyr’s own political neutrality, which is consistent with evidence in (my) possession that demonstrates what Mr Hofmeyr’s initial primary concerns with (me) were, which are very different to what Mr Hofmeyr’s current allegations are.”
The SIU is considering taking the CCMA ruling on review to the Labour Court. According to SIU spokesperson Marika Muller, the unit has “absolute respect” for the CCMA, but believes the ruling is incorrect.
Muller said: “However, even if the ruling is held to be correct, then that in itself does not bring an end to the CCMA case and the CCMA will still be required to rule on an appropriate outcome.”
Hofmeyr persists that Davids is not suitable to occupy the position of deputy head of the SIU because of what he (Hofmeyr) heard on the tapes.
“The commissioner’s decision does not alter that fact,” Muller commented.
Davids’ lawyer Sonia de Vries said her client should be reinstated and that Hofmeyr’s actions in the past 26 months against him was “extremely irresponsible of a person as senior as Mr Hofmeyr. The ruling suggests an intolerable abuse of power and authority by Mr Hofmeyr.”
Simelane briefed an advocate to attend the CCMA’s ruling this week on his behalf. His spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said: “The NDPP will read the judgment and seek legal advice on its implications on the NPA.”