NPA responds to Mantashe's attack on Mpshe

Statement issued by the National Prosecuting Authority November 19 2008

RE: Jacob Zuma decision was not politically motivated

Advocate Mokotedi Mpshe's recent interview with the City Press was a reflection of his first year since he took over following the suspension of the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Advocate Vusi Pikoli.

During this interview he recounted some of the key and sometimes difficult matters that he has had to deal with in this role.

The broader context of the acting NDPP's statements was in the spirit of the NPA's celebration of its 10th year anniversary, where he highlighted the successes and challenges that the institution has been faced with during its first decade of existence. Some excerpts of that interview have been selectively quoted in the media, a situation which has opened the statements to various interpretations that were not inherent in the message being conveyed.

He referred to the climate within which the NPA operated as rough. He stated that a rough climate existed as NPA decisions were subjected to severe public scrutiny and criticism. One form of such criticism was a perception that Mr Jacob Zuma's case was a political trial and that made it difficult for the NPA to handle. In any event, this is one of the issues that the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) next week may have to adjudicate on.

The acting NDPP expressed an opinion on the incorrectness of Judge Nicholson's judgement. It is a matter of public record that the NPA successfully applied for leave to appeal against this judgement, based on its conviction that it was legally flawed. Appealing a case because one believes that it is incorrect, and providing the basis for one's contestation is within the framework of our law in this country and this is a right that is afforded all citizens of this country, including the NPA.

Once the highest court has pronounced on the matter, the NPA and all the members of the public will have to abide by that decision, irrespective of the outcome. That is the rule of law, and the NPA fully respects it.

The acting NDPP re-emphasises that the NPA is a legal institution, and it is committed to fulfil its constitutional mandate of prosecuting without fear, favour or prejudice, even in the harshest conditions.

Statement issued by Tlali Tlali, National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, November 19 2008