Mbeki lashes out at lying politicians

By Angela Quintal

Thabo Mbeki has hit out against what he believes is the entrenched lying threatening to corrupt South Africa - and which cost him his job.

The former president on Tuesday issued his first public statement since standing down in the wake of Judge Chris Nicholson's explosive judgment, which was dramatically overturned on appeal this week.

But Mbeki did not elaborate on his plan of action, including whether he would sue, seek an apology, or even complain to the Judicial Service Commission.

Mbeki's spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga said in reply to a query that "there has been no discussion about taking legal action against anyone or referring the Honourable Judge Nicholson to the Judicial Service Commission."

Asked whether Mbeki believed he was owed an apology by the ANC, Ratshitanga said that was a question best directed to the party.

ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa appeared to rule this out on Tuesday, when he told SAFM's Morning Live that the ANC had no regrets.

He stressed that the Nicholson judgment was only one of the grounds on which the party had based its recusal of Mbeki.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Appeal unanimously overturned Judge Nicholson's judgment, lambasting him in the process.

Former minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad, who resigned along with Mbeki, said he believed that bygones should be bygones. He said it was sufficient that the court had vindicated them.

Mbeki, who argued that the judge's comments were gratuitous and tried to appeal the judgment which led to the ANC's ire, on Tuesday "welcomed and accepted" the SCA's decision in its entirety.

In a veiled criticism of his party's top brass, Mbeki said the SCA alone had provided leadership in the fight against using untested allegations to rubbish people's characters and integrity.

He urged all South Africans to take a stand against "the propagation of deliberate falsehoods to attain various objectives" before it became an entrenched culture that corrupted the country.

Meanwhile, the ANC's parliamentary caucus has asked party lawyers to review the National Prosecuting Authority Act in the wake of Monday's decision.

ANC chief whip Mnyamezeli Booi said Monday's judgment raised questions about the powers of the NPA that had to be resolved.

"What has the judge seen that we have not seen?

"What is the problem with the act?

"Or is it about how the NPA has conducted itself?" he asked. - Additional reporting by Sapa

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