Johannesburg - Only the Director of Public Prosecutions in Limpopo has the powers to reinstitute criminal charges against EFF leader Julius Malema and not AfriForum.
This was the reaction of the National Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Shaun Abrahams, to questions on whether civil rights body AfriForum could successfully charge Malema through a private prosecution.
“There was only one case prosecuted privately here in the Western Cape. It was a case of murder. In the case of On-Point Engineering, the matter was struck off the roll. It was later reopened and investigated. Witnesses were contacted and investigations were continued.
“It is now up to the Director of Public Prosecutions in Limpopo to reinstitute charges, and not other people,” Abrahams said.
Last month, AfriForum announced its intention to prosecute Malema and former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane.
AfriForum spokesperson Kallie Kriel said they were bringing cases for private prosecution only in matters where they believed that the National Prosecuting Authority was declining to prosecute.
“If the NPA do not do their job, then we have to intervene in these matters,” Kriel said.
On Wednesday, however, Abrahams cast doubt on AfriForum’s plan succeeding.
Abrahams made the comments in Parliament, when he was part of a government delegation including Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha and Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development John Jeffery, briefing the media about their plans to improve services in the Justice Department.
While Masutha gave a detailed account of an increase in the number of black judges in the country, as well as details about the completion of the Mpumalanga High Court and upgrades at 45 regional courts in the country, the focus later turned to Abrahams.
He was questioned on the whereabouts of Duduzane and the Guptas, as well as the delay in the prosecution of the three men found to have been responsible for the murder of Ahmed Timol while he was in police custody.
On the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma, Abrahams was very brief, saying “we have involved other countries. They are conducting their own investigations. And we are also doing the same. Those are the only things I can say for now.”
However, he said plans were still under way to charge the three found to have been involved in the Timol matter, but said lack of resources and capacity were slowing down their investigations.
Abrahams said the NPA was prioritising 15 cases from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, including the murder of Neil Aggett, who also died in police custody.
He did not detail all 15 cases, but told SABC reporter Lukhanyo Calata that the gruesome deaths of the Cradock Four - which included the reporter’s father, Fort Calata - was among their priority cases.
“We will regularly provide updates on the cases high on our priority lists,” Abrahams said.
Masutha came out in support of the initiatives, saying all the matters that were classified as “cold cases” should be reopened and not dusted off.