Parliament - National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shaun Abrahams on Tuesday, accused civil rights organisation AfriForum of "grandstanding", questioning its bona fides in announcing that it intends to privately prosecute Julius Malema, the leader of South Africa's third largest political party.
"The only time anyone can approach the NPA for a...certificate for private prosecutions is where the NPA has declined to prosecute and that person needs the prerequisite jurisdictional requirements in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act," Abrahams told Parliament's portfolio committee on justice during a briefing on the NPA's annual performance plan.
"Anyone that announced a private prosecution prior to the process having been concluded on any matter is grandstanding and misinforming the public."
Abrahams was responding to the April 19, announcement by AfriForum's private prosecuting unit head, Advocate Gerrie Nel, that he will be leading a private prosecution against the Economic Freedom Fighters leader.
Nel told journalists that Malema and his co-accused will be prosecuted “for fraud and tender corruption should the NPA not yield to AfriForum’s demand that the case against Malema, regarding the then corrupt activities of the company On-Point Engineering in Limpopo, be reinstated”.
AfriForum maintains On-Point Engineering, in which Malema’s family trust had a vested interest, was appointed in 2009 to assist the Limpopo department of roads and transport with infrastructure development, maintenance and planning and in doing so received bribes from successful tenderers.
Abrahams said he appointed a new prosecuting team after the matter was struck from the high court roll in Limpopo. The team directed that further investigations took place and that "numerous witnesses" be interviewed.
"This is a normal practice for prosecutors. There is nothing untoward about this practice," he said.
"The [non-governmental organisation] NGO concerned had written to the NPA and in relation to the matter and opportunistically ran to the media. I have been advised that this matter is presently under consideration and at a very advanced stage."
African News Agency/ANA