Willie Hofmeyr, the former head of the Asset Forfeiture Unit. File picture: Alon Skuy

Centurion - Former head of asset forfeiture unit (AFU), Willie Hofmeyr, has admitted that he had overreacted in the Spy Tapes saga when he claimed that criminal charges against former president Jacob Zuma were politically motivated.

Hofmeyr also admitted that the prosecution had a "solid case" against Zuma but said they had listened to the "recorded conversations" between the then National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Bulelani Ngcuka and former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarth arguing over when should criminal charges be preferred against Zuma. 

He said the two were debating whether Zuma should be charged before the ANC elective conference in Polokwane or afterwards. 

This made them believe that the charges were politically motivated.  

Hofmeyr was responding to cross-examination by Nomgcobo Jiba’s legal counsel Adv Norman Arendse who, in his questioning, insinuated that Hofmeyr’s decision to depose an affidavit in support of the dropping of charges, was also politically influenced.

In his reply, Hofmeyr denied that he made a political decision. He said the NPA top management, which included the then Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Adv Mokotedi Mpshe, took a collective decision to withdraw the charges against Zuma. 

Hofmeyr said his decision was also prompted by events during the initial stages of the prosecution of former police commissioner Jackie Selebi. 

According to him - there was a political ploy not to allow the prosecution of Selebi. 

Despite denying that NPA’s decision to withdraw charges against Zuma was politically motivated - Hofmeyr conceded his decision was wrong. 

He told the Mokgoro inquiry that he accepts the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) that their behaviour was unethical.

In his reply, he said: “I overreacted. I agree that there we gave undue importance to what was said in the telephone recordings of Mr Ngcuka and Leonard McCarthy".

The hearings continue.

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