National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams. Picture: ANA/Archives
Pretoria - National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams has been warned to act independently when deciding whether to reinstate fraud and corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma.

A submission by the DA’s lawyers, Minde Schapiro and Smith Inc, to Abrahams says he is expected to act independently and insulate himself from political considerations.

“This is significant as the manner in which previous litigation has been handled has created the inescapable inference that the NDPP has pursued litigation in the best interests of Zuma and with the desired outcome of ensuring that his prosecution is hobbled, delayed and undermined,” reads the DA’s preliminary submission to Abrahams.

The DA also submitted that Abrahams recently admitted that fraud and corruption charges against Zuma still remained. The country’s top prosecutor admitted that charges against Zuma were “extant” (still in existence).

On Thursday, the DA told Abrahams: “The DA is plainly not in a position to sensibly deal with the new matter which may be raised by President Zuma until it has had an opportunity to consider his fresh representations."

The official opposition said that until it had seen Zuma’s representations, it could at best make speculative comments based on what it believed the president might say in his representations to Abrahams.

Zuma was expected to submit his representations by yesterday’s deadline, but Abrahams refused to comment on whether he had received them.

He referred questions to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku, who did not respond.

The DA also demanded Abrahams reject Zuma’s representations and for his prosecution to proceed. It demanded that Abrahams share Zuma’s representations with interested parties, including the DA.

“In other words, you will not repeat the error made by (former acting NDPP) Mokotedi Mpshe, who accepted representations made on behalf of Zuma on a confidential basis,” the party warned.

The DA wants to be given 14 days to comment on Zuma’s representations with other interested parties.

According to the DA, the NPA fought side-by-side with Zuma to defeat the party’s eight-year battle to have the charges reinstated.

“ It is hard to view the NPA’s approach as being a cynical strategy to avoid the inconvenience of taking on a politically powerful opponent,” the DA said.

During the hearing of the spy tapes matter in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), Zuma’s lawyer Kemp J Kemp admitted that Mpshe’s decision to drop fraud and corruption charges against the president was irrational.

The spy tapes were recordings of conversations between senior prosecutors discussing the corruption charges against Zuma, who said they were proof of political interference in his prosecution for arms deal fraud and corruption.

But the DA insists that evidence of political conspiracy is baseless and misplaced.

Last year, the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, overturned Mpshe’s decision to drop the charges as irrational and ruled that Zuma must face the charges. Zuma and the NPA appealed against the decision at the SCA, which dismissed the appeal in October.

The DA accused the NPA of not taking any decisive action to follow up indications of unlawfulness in the manner in which the spy tapes ended up with Zuma and his lawyers. Civil-society organisation Future SA called on the NPA to do its job without fear or favour and reinstate the charges.

Zuma’s legal adviser Michael Hulley and spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga did not respond to requests for comment.

Political Bureau