Former president Jacob Zuma. File picture: ANA

Pretoria - The credibility of Willie Hofmeyr - South Africa's national deputy of public prosecutions - was brought into question at the Mokgoro inquiry on Wednesday as he faced criticism over his role in the decision to drop corruption charges against former president Jacob Zuma.

The inquiry was instituted to probe the fitness to hold office of suspended senior advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi - who have been accused of prosecutorial interference and political pandering. Retired constitutional court justice Yvonne Mokgoro is chairing the commission. 

Some of those appearing before the commission to give testimony on decisions taken by Jiba and Mrwebi have had their own credibility questioned, as happened on Wednesday with Hofmeyr.  

Advocate Norman Arendse, acting for Jiba, said Hofmeyr's reasons for dropping charges against Zuma - as deposed in an affidavit - were criticised by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in October 2017.

"The crux of the spy tapes' judgement is, to put it mildly, that Mr. Hofmeyr's own credibility is suspect, and he cannot be trusted," said Arendse.

But Hofmeyr's counsel, Annade Theart, objected, saying the inquiry was not probing Hofmeyr's conduct. Hofmeyr had been asked to respond to issues that fell outside the terms of reference of the inquiry, said Theart.   

Argued Arendse: "He cannot now run away from what he did in the spy tapes' case, he must answer for it. If he cannot answer, that will be grossly unfair. I want him to answer in the context of what the SCA said in the spy tapes' case, about what the court said."

After considering both submissions, Mokgoro ruled that Hofmeyr could be questioned but should be given time to consult a senior counsel. 

Hofmeyr will return to the inquiry for questioning once the legal teams have decided on an appropriate date. 

African News Agency (ANA)