NPA gives Zuma November deadline to say why he shouldn’t be prosecuted

20 October 2017 - 18:54 By Ernest Mabuza
President Jacob Zuma.
President Jacob Zuma.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has given President Jacob Zuma until November 30 to make further representations on whether or not he should be prosecuted.

But Zuma’s further representations should relate only to issues not previously considered when then Acting National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Mokotedi Mpshe made his decision in 2009‚ said the NPA.

Mpshe’s decision not to continue the prosecution of Zuma on corruption charges was reviewed and set aside by the high court in Pretoria last year.

This month‚ the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed an appeal by the NPA and Zuma.

On Friday‚ the NPA said the appeal court specifically recorded that when Mpshe publicly announced his decision to discontinue the prosecution of Zuma‚ he considered four issues submitted by Zuma’s legal representatives.

These are the substantive merits‚ the fair trial defences‚ the practical implications and considerations of continued prosecution and the policy aspects militating against prosecution.

The SCA said Mpshe could find nothing in respect of the first three grounds that militated against the continuation of the prosecution.

“The NDPP (Shaun Abrahams) is of the view that in light of the judgment of the SCA‚ it appears that any further representations envisaged by Mr Zuma should relate to issues not previously considered‚” NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku said.

“As a result‚ Mr Zuma has been advised through his lawyers that he has until 30 November 2017 to submit any envisaged representations to the NDPP.”

The NPA also invited the Democratic Alliance‚ which challenged Mpshe’s decision‚ to submit further representations should it deem it necessary.

Mfaku said that before the SCA judgment‚ the NPA had been in discussions with the Hawks on the availability of witnesses and documentary evidence.

Before the withdrawal of the criminal charges against Zuma in April 2009‚ the list of witnesses attached to the indictment contained 218 names.

Abrahams met the head of the Hawks‚ Major General Yolisa Matakata‚ and the investigating officer to establish the reasonable timeline it would take to verify the availability of the witnesses‚ according to Mfaku.

It was agreed that the investigating officer would need 30 days to do this.

“As such‚ the investigating officer is expected to revert to the NPA hereon by no later than 30 November 2017‚” Mfaku said.

The NPA also noted the criticism in the SCA judgment related to Willie Hofmeyr‚ then deputy NDPP. The SCA said the picture that emerged was Hofmeyr straining to find justification for the termination of Zuma’s prosecution.

Mfaku said Abrahams took this criticism extremely seriously and had written to Hofmeyr‚ asking him to provide his comments.

“The NDPP will advise on the way forward after receiving feedback from the investigating officer as to the availability of the witnesses and having considered representations from Mr Zuma‚ should any be forthcoming and from the DA‚ should any be forthcoming‚” Mfaku said.