The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the Constitutional Court ruling today finding Shaun Abrahams’ appointment as National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) invalid. The Court found that the manner in which former NDPP Mxolisi Nxasana vacated office was Constitutionally invalid.
In December 2017, the North Gauteng High Court declared that former President Jacob Zuma’s decision to terminate Nxasana’s appointment as the head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) unconstitutional. Furthermore, the High Court ordered then-Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, to appoint a new NDPP as Zuma was too compromised.
The DA has propagated the view for some time that the appointment process regarding the NDPP should follow the concept of public and parliamentary involvement similar to the process of appointment of the Public Protector and the judiciary. This would be a good time to revisit that option.
Zuma’s decision to appoint Abrahams as head of the NPA was nothing more than an attempt to prevent the prosecuting authority from reinstating the 783 counts of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money-laundering against him.
Parliament should play a central role in appointing the NDPP in order to prevent political influence over the NPA.
Furthermore, the DA welcomes the Court’s ruling that Section 12(6) of the NPA Act unconstitutional; this section determines that the President can suspend the NDPP for an indefinite period without pay.
The Court has given Parliament 18 months to remedy this defect. In the interim, the President will only be allowed to suspend the NDPP for a period of 6 months and the NDPP will receive a full salary in that period.
President Ramaphosa must stop evading the inevitable and should, with the participation of Parliament, appoint a credible and independent NDPP which will restore the public faith in the integrity of the NPA.
The DA welcomes the decision by the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Shaun Abrahams, to proceed with the criminal trial of Jacob Zuma. This is a victory for all who have fought for years for Jacob Zuma to face accountability for his crimes. That accountability starts now.
We launched this review application in 2009, after the 783 charges were dropped illegally and unconstitutionally. It is a fight that we have been waging in the Courts for almost nine years and today’s decision is a vindication of the decision to challenge the dropping of the charges. Now there must be no further delay in starting the trial. The witnesses are ready, the evidence is strong, and Jacob Zuma must finally have his day in court.
We will brief our legal teams immediately to oppose any effort by Zuma to delay this any further, including his application for a stay of prosecution.
We will also fight to ensure the public do not have to carry the costs of Zuma’s defence, as they have already done for the past 9 years.
I thank all of the legal teams who have waged this ‘lawfare’ over the years. Their effort and dedication has defeated Zuma’s endless delay tactics.
When Shabir Shaik was found guilty on charges of corruption and fraud in relation to the Arms Deal on 7 April 2005, Judge Squires’ judgment made it clear that Zuma must also be charged, and that the evidence for this was “convincing and really overwhelming”.
Shaik and Zuma’s trials should never have been separated in the first place and the decision to reinstate the charges should not have been a difficult one. Zuma’s day in court is years overdue and the NPA’s prosecutions team have said that there was a strong case on the merits and the only reason charges were dropped was because of the infamous Spy Tapes.
The then NDPP made the decision to withdraw charges against Zuma because he felt that the Spy Tapes had prejudiced Zuma and had made the trial unfair toward him. The DA challenged this decision in court and this is what we have been fighting for the past nine years, which has now been vindicated.
The DA is keenly awaiting the decision by the National Director of Public Prosecution (NDPP), Shaun Abrahams, on whether or not former president Jacob Zuma should stand trial on corruption charges.
The head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has run out of ways to delay his decision on the matter and the DA’s nine-year battle to have the charges against Zuma reinstated has finally come to a head.
The time has arrived for the NPA to reinstate the 783 counts of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money-laundering against Zuma. The DA will accept nothing less.
It is a victory for the DA but also for South Africa that events have reached this point. As a result of our dogged, unwavering pursuit of justice we will all know, today or in the days to come, whether or not Zuma will finally have his day in court.
Zuma cannot be allowed to walk scot-free if he is found guilty of any of the charges brought against him. South Africans have waited too long for the verdict and Abrahams must now put an end to his delaying tactics.
The DA has today received a letter from the National Director of Public Prosecution, Adv. Shaun Abrahams, regarding our request that we are provided with the submissions by President Jacob Zuma on whether or not he should be prosecuted for the 783 counts of counts of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money-laundering against him.
Adv Abrahams has committed to respond to us by Thursday, 15 February on the representations.
We believe we are entitled to the representations as the main litigant in the ongoing battle to have the charges reinstated.
If we do not receive them we will consider approaching court to obtain them.
Adv. Abrahams has also stated that he will receive the recommendations on Friday, 23 February from his prosecuting team on whether or not to go ahead with the prosecution. Thereafter he will announce a date by which he will announce his decision.
Although painfully slow, we are pleased that at last there is a timetable relating to this matter.
We are keen for this matter to proceed, for Jacob Zuma to have his day in court. We will accordingly keep Adv. Abrahams to his undertakings in this letter.
The DA has today written to the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, to request that he provide us with a copy of the submission by President Jacob Zuma as to why he should not be prosecuted for the 783 charges of corruption, fraud, money-laundering and racketeering charges against him.
The DA is entitled to Zuma’s full submission as the main litigant in this case, which has dragged on for almost a decade and cost ordinary South Africans an estimated R30 million or more in legal fees.
Zuma has been given until the close of business today to submit his representations. The DA will engage thoroughly with the contents and continue to ensure that Zuma has his day in court, like any other citizen faced with the same charges would.
In October last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal rejected Zuma’s appeal of the 2016 North Gauteng High Court ruling that set aside the decision to drop these charges because it was borne from undue political considerations and, therefore, irrational.
For too long Zuma has evaded his day in court. Any other citizen would have had to answer to such charges in court, yet Zuma has been given special treatment and been allowed to make fresh representations on the same charges he faced in 2009.
The process now is straightforward. Abrahams must set a trial date and Zuma must have his day in court.
The decision by President Jacob Zuma – and now the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) – to appeal the court judgment that declared him too conflicted to appoint an NPA head to replace Shaun Abrahams is a shocking waste of money. This confirms that President Zuma is willing to use all methods possible to avoid facing charges.
It also proves that Shaun Abrahams is a Zuma lackey, planted in the NPA to serve at President Zuma’s pleasure, no matter the cost to the public.
When Zuma allowed Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to appoint a judge to lead the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture as per former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela’s, “State of Capture” report recommendations, he conceded that his executive function can be fulfilled by someone else if he is too conflicted.
It therefore makes no sense for him to oppose the court ruling that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa should make the appointment within 60 days.
Zuma’s actions continue to prove that he remains in charge and that very little has changed since the ANC elective Congress. It shows that the ANC has not self-corrected and that Zuma is still trying to run away from the law at the taxpayers’ expense.
Zuma is certainly no stranger to wasting public money. He did exactly this when, for example, he withdrew his court bid to interdict the release of the State of Capture report in 2016, dropped large parts of his review application of the same report in 2017, and then opposed the appointment of a Judge to head the Inquiry by the Chief Justice only to give in in the end and allow Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to make the appointment after all.
The President has also defended numerous court cases in the past two years which he lost – including the Nkandla matter, which he fought all the way to the Constitutional Court only to have his counsel make key concessions in their arguments on the day of the hearing.
In the Spy Tapes matter alone, he has squandered R10 million to avoid being charged with 783 counts of fraud, racketeering and corruption.
If Ramaphosa to truly serious about combatting corruption and really in charge of the ANC hold Zuma accountable for wasting public funds.
The DA welcomes that the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has taken action against the State Capture brothers, the Guptas, by serving a summons to preserve assists worth approximately R1.6 billion.
This is not as not as a result of Shaun Abrahams, who tried to stall, but as a result of pressure and hard work of the AFU team under Adv. Knox Molelle.
The DA has doggedly pursued those suspected of being involved in the project of State Capture with a number of us laying criminal charges against key individuals, which we trust assisted the Hawks and now the NPA in their investigations and decision to pursue the Gupta’s albeit rather delayed.
These charges included:
- In September 2017, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, Natasha Mazzone, laid criminal charges of fraud, racketeering and collusion against global consultancy firm, McKinsey, in terms of Section 21 of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act after it appeared that McKinsey allegedly ignored warnings from senior South African staff members, that the deals done with Trillian, Eskom and other Gupta-linked companies were not above board;
- In July 2017, she also laid criminal charges against Eskom’s Chief Financial Officer, Anoj Singh, for breaches of Section 50 (1) of the Public Finance Management Act (PMFA) for his alleged role in the Guptas’ capture of Eskom through the Tegeta agreement and the Trillion contracts;
- In the same month, Natasha Mazzone laid charges of charges of money laundering and corruption against the South African component of global software giant, SAP, and Gupta-affiliated company CAD House, following allegations of R100 million in kickbacks changed hands between the two companies;
- In July 2017, David Maynier laid charges of money laundering, fraud, corruption, racketeering against Atul Gupta, Ajay Gupta, Rajesh Gupta, Ronica Ragavan and Kamal Vasram, in terms of the Prevention of Organized Crime Act and the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, following revelations that public funds were used to pay for Vega Gupta and Aakash Jahajgarhia’s wedding at Sun City in 2013;
- In July 2017, DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane and DA Shadow Minister of Finance, David Maynier MP, laid charges of in terms of the Prevention and Combatting of Corruption Activities Act, relating to the findings of the State Capture Report against the Gupta-family, President Jacob Zuma, Brian Molefe and Mosebenzi Zwane; and
- In June 2017, I laid charges of money laundering, fraud, corruption, against the Gupta’s and their associates in relation to the Estina dairy farm matter.
This preservation order, to be served tomorrow, is only the first step in holding those responsible for looting the people’s money and we expect to see other such action against the President’s son, Duduzane Zuma, and the President himself so that they can be held accountable for their role in State Capture.
The Democratic Alliance congratulates Freedom Under Law on their victory in the North Gauteng High Court today.
Once again the actions of Shaun Abrahams have been sharply called into question by our courts. Today’s judgement, effectively setting aside the clearly irrational and expedient decision by Abrahams to withdraw fraud and perjury charges against Jiba, has demonstrated again that he is unfit for high office. The sooner he vacates that position, the sooner the work to reverse the capture of the NPA can begin.
Unsurprisingly, the President has also once again been found wanting. Jiba and Mwrebi should now face the consequences of their actions and be held accountable for the damage they have wrought.
This judgement again confirms that the judiciary will enforce the Constitution and the rule of law and that those who choose to flout these principles will be held to account.
Please find the attached correspondence from Shaun Abrahams here.
The DA is disappointed but not at all surprised by yet more delaying tactics in the case against President Jacob Zuma on 783 counts of fraud, corruption, money-laundering and racketeering against him.
In the first place, one wonders whether Shaun Abrahams is in a position to grant Mr Zuma an extension until 31 January 2018 to submit representations as to why he should not be charged, given the decision last week by the High Court in Pretoria that Abrahams must vacate his position as National Director of Public Prosecutions.
Assuming he is in a position to do so, these charges are the very same ones put to Mr Zuma in 2007. This case is not complex and the only thing that has changed is the effluxion of time, which is very much a matter of Zuma’s own making.
The DA is also disappointed that Abrahams still refuses to treat Mr Zuma like any other accused. In the normal course of justice, the accused would be charged before a court of law and only then given the opportunity to make representations. However, Mr Zuma continues to receive special treatment and is yet to be charged like any other citizen.
Finally, as we have pointed out exhaustively in our submissions to numerous courts throughout the eight and a half years we have fought to bring Mr Zuma to justice, it is not for the prosecutors, however diligent, to decide if Mr Zuma has a case to answer. This decision must be made by a trial court, and the trial court must decide whether any evidence is inadmissible.
The long history of delaying tactics and obfuscation continue, but the DA remains committed to ensuring Mr Zuma has his day in court.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the judgment by the North Gauteng High Court effectively setting aside the appointment of Shaun Abrahams as National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), and ordering him to vacate office. Predictably, the President has indicated he will appeal this judgment, another attempt to delay the start of the criminal trial he should have faced years ago.
No matter the appeal, Shaun Abrahams should vacate office and let someone who can actually do the job take over. He has distinguished himself in his incompetence, by taking absolutely no proactive action on any of the allegations of corruption and state capture that have come to light in recent months. He has deferred to the President, and has consistently failed to assert his own independence and that of the NPA.
We also welcome the Court’s decision to remove the power of appointing a new NDPP from President Jacob Zuma, and to grant Deputy President Ramaphosa the power to appoint a new NDPP within 60 days. Deputy President Ramaphosa should oppose the President’s appeal, and do what the Court has instructed him to do. This is the perfect opportunity for Ramaphosa to demonstrate his real commitment to fighting the scourge of corruption in the state by appointing someone of obvious integrity and independence. We call on him to not wait 60 days to do so, but to do so without delay.
The NDPP is currently working on the existing criminal charges against President Zuma and should be planning the President’s upcoming trial. We need a new NDPP soon who will pursue the prosecution of the President with the vigour that the case deserves, and that has been so lacking in previous National Directors. Whatever happens in this appeal, there is no basis for any further delay to the Zuma trial. We expect that the NDPP should proceed to trial without delay.
This judgment is now the second time that President Zuma’s powers have been limited because he is so compromised. Zuma has proved he is not willing to appoint an independent NDPP who will act without fear or favour towards him as President. Every person he has appointed to the job has been manifestly unsuitable, given the job only to protect the President from prosecution. The NPA was the first state institution to be captured, and the Court has today struck a blow against that capture and in favour of a truly independent, muscular national prosecutor. Similarly, the previous Public Protector ordered the President Zuma should not be allowed to appoint a judge to lead an inquiry into state capture.
This is why the DA has previously proposed that the President’s power to appoint the NDPP be removed, and be vested with Parliament.
It is clear the President is incapable of exercising the powers of his Office. Cyril Ramaphosa should act without delay and appoint a National Director that will begin to restore the NPA’s reputation and its independence.