On Thursday, the younger Zuma briefly appeared before the Special Commercial Crimes Court in Johannesburg where he faced allegations of corruption relating to the alleged bribery attempt by the Guptas on former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas.
The NPA provisionally withdrew the charges, indicating that it was still awaiting the conclusion of the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture, where Jonas - its key witness in the case - was still expected to be cross-examined on the allegations he made against Zuma and the Guptas.
Zuma’s lawyer, Rudi Krause, on Thursday slammed the NPA, accusing it of rushing to arrest him and charging him while it knew it had no case against him.
“This is clear victimisation and the NPA never had a case against Mr Zuma. They issued the warrant of arrest for him before the commission started, so what can the testimony by Jonas at the commission change if they have a case against him already? The matter has been before the court for more than two years now. They postponed it for six months, only to drop the charges. This is incompetence and victimisation,” Krause said.
NPA regional spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane denied that the NPA had rushed the case against Zuma to court while it was still ill-prepared to prosecute him.
“The State has always been ready, hence this matter was enrolled in the first place. The NPA can never take a matter to court and decide that prosecution should continue if prosecutors felt that they were not ready,” Mjonondwane said.
“The prosecutors prosecuting this matter felt that it was necessary to wait for that process, which does not necessarily mean that every prosecutor will then decide that if somebody is in front of the state capture commission a criminal case cannot proceed, but in this instance the prosecutors who are prosecuting this matter deemed it necessary to wait for that process,” Mjonondwane added.
Jonas has told the commission of how Zuma allegedly organised and attended a meeting at the Gupta compound in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, where Ajay Gupta offered him the post of finance minister, including R600million and R600000 in cash if he agreed to work with the Guptas and assist their business interests.
This was months before former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was fired by former president Jacob Zuma in December 2015.
In November last year, the NPA also provisionally dropped the fraud and corruption charges related to the Gupta-linked Estina dairy case, where around R250m meant for emerging farmers was allegedly stolen for the benefit of the Guptas and their associates.
The NPA said it was unable to finalise the investigation due to outstanding information which required the co-operation of law enforcement agencies in India and the United Arab Emirates.
Mjonondwane stressed that the rush to make arrests in the Gupta-related cases had nothing to do with politics.
“It has nothing to do with politics. We are first and foremost prosecutors at heart,” she said.