Spy Tapes: NPA still stuck on conspiracy claims - Glynnis Breytenbach

DA MP says Authority's HOA do not speak to the veracity and merits of the case itself

Spy Tapes: NPA persists with “conspiracy” and fails to deal with merits of the Zuma case

3 July 2015

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has today finally filed its heads of argument in the DA’s review application to have the decision to drop the 783 charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering levelled against President Jacob Zuma declared manifestly irrational and set aside on that basis. 

From the DA’s preliminary reading of the NPA’s heads of argument it is clear that the NPA is hell bent on persisting in the narrative that there was a conspiracy against President Zuma which warranted the dropping of the charges which is largely irrelevant and does not speak to the veracity and merits of the case itself. 

It is worth noting that despite the then NPA head, Mokotedi Mpshe, desperately attempting to distance himself from this decision that the NPA, in its heads of argument, asserts was “polycentric”. 

In any event Mr Mpshe, confirms- in his supplementary confirmatory affidavit- that the case against Mr Zuma was indeed ripe for prosecution and that “the decision to prosecute [President Jacob] Zuma had been taken, and the prosecution would be instituted as soon as possible because there was no legitimate reason to delay it- i.e. no reason related to the prosecution itself.” 

This is echoed in the Downer affidavit and the NPA, in its heads of argument, fails to meaningfully deal with any of the damning assertions made in this regard which the DA has long contended in its supplementary founding affidavit is the central issue to the entire review application of the decision to drop the charges in the first place.

With every interaction with the respondents in this review application it becomes more and more apparent that the decision to discontinue the prosecution was informed by political considerations and not considerations based in law. This is inherently irrational and on that basis the decision should be set aside.

It is critical to reiterate that central to this matter is that there is indeed a solid prima facie case against President Jacob Zuma and that Mr Mokotedi Mpshe himself admits is fit for prosecution. 

He did not make the decision based on an assessment that his earlier decision to institute criminal proceedings against the President was flawed. Additionally he did not make his decision based on any new information or on any substantive content of the indictment containing the charges or on concerns about the prosecuting team.

It is disappointing and predictable that the NPA has quite obviously decided to side-step this issue but would rather persist in other arguments that are largely irrelevant. In fact nowhere does the NPA deal with the issue of the reliability or integrity of the material underpinning their theory of conspiracy. It remains an issue to be decided by a trial court and not prosecution.

This is inexplicable and has become the gold standard of the lengths this state institution, critical to our criminal justice system, will go to shield the politically connected from due accountability.

Statement issued by Adv Glynnis Breytenbach MP, DA Shadow Minister of Justice, July 3 2015