A blog by Wandisile Sebezo.
Anti-apartheid activist advocate Willie Hofmeyr at Plett History Festival
Plett locals had an opportunity to spend a night with one of South Africa’s foremost legal minds, Advocate Willie Hofmeyr at the Plett Angling Club this past Thursday.
The talk was part of the Plett History Festival which started on the 13th and ended on the 15th of February. The Festival was organised by Mike Kantey in partnership with Green Hearts, an organisation that is passionate about the safety of children and advocates against child abuse. The festival was sponsored by Bitou Municipality.
The 66 year old seasoned prosecutor was born in Cape Town in 1954, and was involved in the anti-apartheid struggle from an early age. He took up various posts in leading organisations fighting apartheid. The most notable was when he joined the United Democratic Front at its inception in 1983 right up to its dissolvement in 1991 after the unbanning of political parties.
Adv Hofmeyr was also a member of the ANC and represented the ANC during the negotiations that delivered our first free and fair elections in 1994.
In 1998 he was appointed by the then Deputy President Thabo Mbeki to be his special legal adviser. In 1999, President Mbeki appointed him as a Special Director of Public Prosecutions and to establish and head the new Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU).
Following this, in August 2001, Hofmeyr was also appointed as head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) from 2001 to 2011 in addition to his work in the AFU.
In 2016 Willie was one of the 14 shortlisted candidates for the position of Public Protector when Adv Thuli Madonsela’s term came to an end, a position he unfortunately didn’t get.
On the eve of Valentine’s Day, 13 February 2020, about 50 of us Plett locals where locked in a dining room at the Plett Angling Club with Adv Hofmeyr, where he narrated his life, starting from where he grew up in Cape Town to his involvement in the anti-apartheid struggle.
A question and answer session followed where Adv Hofmeyr fielded questions from the floor. A number of issues were raised; state capture, the role of the judiciary, the Zondo Commission and other interesting political points.
Adv Hofmeyr urged us to be patient with the Zondo Commission, which is mandated by the Presidency to investigate State Capture. The Advocate said that he wishes for this commission to continue for as long as it can in order to unearth some of the rot that engulfed state owned institutions, especially in the last 10 years or so.
He also told us that he is going to the Zondo Commission to make presentations. As someone who has worked right in the belly of the beast, and also having been involved with many high profile cases, it’ll be interesting to hear what he is going to say.
Indeed, a thousand voices where heard that evening.