The failed bid of former AFU head Willie Hofmeyr to block reinstatement of corruption charges against former president Jacob Zuma has come back to haunt him. Picture: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Johannesburg - The failed bid of Willie Hofmeyr - former asset forfeiture unit (AFU) head - to block the reinstatement of fraud and corruption charges against former president Jacob Zuma has come back to haunt him.

This came after the Mokgoro Inquiry led by retired Judge Yvonne Mokgoro granted the legal counsel of suspended national director of public prosecutions, Adv Nomgcobo Jiba, permission to cross-examine Hofmeyr in his role in the then NPA’s decision to block the DA’s eight years battle to force the reinstatement of charges against Zuma.

Earlier, in the morning, Hofmeyr made an application before the Mokgoro Inquiry asking the panel not allow Jiba’s legal counsel Adv Norman Arendse SC to question him about the affidavit he deposed in 2015 to protect Zuma. In his application, Hofmeyr, through his counsel Adv Annade Theart argued that the Mokgoro Inquiry scope was to focus on the fitness of Jiba and NPA director of Special Commercial Crime Unit (SCCU) to hold fitness in the NPA. He was adamant that, if the Inquiry grants such a request, it would extend the scope of its mandate which was given to it by President Cyril Ramaphosa in October last year.

Arendse, however, vehemently disagreed. He said Hofmeyr testified before the Mokgoro Inquiry that the tenure of Jiba as acting director of public prosecutor since 2011 attracted negative publicity in the media. He said Jiba was also accused of only prosecuted the political opponents of Zuma  - who allegedly included IPID head Robert McBride and former Hawks boss Anwa Dramat and former NPA top prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach.

In support of his argument, Arendse told the Mokgoro Inquiry said a similar finding was made against Hofmeyr in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment delivered by Judge Mahomed Navsa in October 2017.

“In his affidavit, which was dismissed by the SCA, Hofmeyr said the then national director of public prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka (it's actually Vusi Pikoli) and Leonard McCarthy had colluded with former president Thabo Mbeki to delay the prosecution of Zuma in 2007,” Arendse said.

He did not give finer details but in court papers, Hofmeyr had argued that the delay in the prosecution was aimed at frustrating Zuma’s chances of taking over the leadership of the ANC ahead of the controversial Polokwane conference in December 2007.

Hofmeyr, in his affidavit, questioned Pikoli and McCarthy’s decision to charge Zuma after the outcome of the Polokwane conference following his election as president after toppling Mbeki.

Arendse argued that his conduct was likely to be worse or the same compared to the accusation faced by Jiba in the Mokgoro probe.

Judge Mokgoro granted Jiba permission to grill Hofmeyr about his conduct on the SCA judgment.

In that judgment, Judge Navsa found his affidavit contradictory. The SCA judges also found that the then former national director of public prosecutions, Mokotedi Mpshe, in his decision to withdraw the fraud and corruption charges against Zuma, invoked a wrong law Section 179 (5) to drop the charges.

Judge Azhar Cachalia, also pointed out that Mpshe, in his confirmatory affidavit, plagiarised earlier judgment which did not support his case. 

Political Bureau