Johannesburg - Shaun Abrahams has been branded an “inept and compromised head of the NPA” for his decision to allow President Jacob Zuma to make legal representation instead of charging him.
This was the verdict of DA federal council chairperson James Selfe, at his party’s Joburg regional elective conference at Turffontein Race Course on Saturday.
Zuma was also the target of a Selfe onslaught. He compared Zuma’s last days in office with those of former dictator Adolf Hitler.
Selfe appeared unfazed by Zuma’s plan to challenge KPMG’s report which was used in the prosecution of his friend Schabir Schaik in 2005.
Zuma had earlier indicated he would use that report to ask the National Prosecuting Authority to withdraw charges against him because the author of the report, Johan van der Walt, lacked credibility. He was found to have authored a fictitious “Sars rogue unit” report allegedly influenced by the Guptas.
Selfe said the report was part of a very big investigation in the criminal charges against him.
“It is not for Shaun Abrahams to decide whether the report is bad or good. It is for a trial court to make such a decision. He must challenge its admissibility in court. This will be our submissions to the NPA."
The DA's lawyers were compiling submissions before making representations to the NPA, he added.
Analysts warned on Saturday that Zuma would have to bring new and fresh evidence to the NPA on why he should not be charged on 783 counts of fraud and corruption.
Professor Dirk Kotze of the politics department at Unisa said Zuma’s career is in trouble. He said the report was not the evidence that the NPA can use in his prosecution.
“He will try to use the KPMG report in his representations, but every prosecutor will not take evidence at face value.
"The KPMG report is not like a court judgment. That audit could be done by someone more credible or the Hawks could do their own investigation,” said Kotze.
He said it would not be possible to reinstate the charges before the December conference.
He added that the NPA could possibly charge Zuma early next year because there will be a lot of preparatory work that needs to be done.
“The implications for Zuma are already there because that decision not to charge him is set aside. There is a prima facie case against Zuma and it is for the NPA to decide if they have all the evidence and if all the witnesses are available,” said Kotze.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said it wants Abrahams to provide a trial date. He said all the evidence was there, and what Abrahams needed to was to serve the indictment on Zuma and set the date for the trial in the High Court.
The Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) said it was not necessary for the NPA to give Zuma six weeks for representations.
“It was not necessary for the NPA to give the president that long given that he had conceded at the Supreme Court of Appeal he would make representations to the NPA,” said Lawson Naidoo of Casac.
Also read: Why the NPA shouldn’t prosecute Zuma
He said the NPA had adequate time to prepare but that it was unlikely to charge Zuma before the ANC conference. Naidoo said it was also worrying that the NPA has started to look at the docket now when it had so much time to do so.
“It’s alarming that they are looking at the dockets now and the witnesses given what the NPA knew that the president had conceded in court that the decision to drop the charges was irrational. It does look like the NPA have been dragging their feet,” said Naidoo.
The NPA said on Saturday it would not comment on Zuma’s earlier suggestion he would bring in the issue of the scandal of the KPMG, whose report was used to prosecute Schabir Shaik. Spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said no determination has been made. “We have not received any representations from his lawyers and therefore cannot comment."
In his address to DA supporters on Saturday, Selfe said South Africa was in a crisis and he put the blame squarely on Zuma and those who support him as well as the Guptas.
“I do not want to sound alarmist, but at no stage of our country’s history (and I include two world wars and several states of emergency, has our nation faced a crisis as serious as the one we currently face.
“At no other stage have we had a sitting president who is facing serious charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering.
"At no stage in our history have we had such an inept and compromised head of the NPA, who is delaying and dallying about whether or not to prosecute Mr JG Zuma,” Selfe said.
He said while this happens, South Africa continues to have soaring unemployment, poverty, increase in infant mortality and violent deaths including the murder of farmworkers and farmers.
“We see relatives, friends and comrades of the connected few getting jobs and the contracts, while people with merit and ability and qualifications are excluded."
According to Selfe, due to the continued corruption, billions were stolen from local, provincial and national government “but we see very few prosecutions”.
“Instead, it seems, they are reshuffled,” Selfe said, adding “nothing illustrates the crisis we face more that the cabinet reshuffle.
“Mr JG Zuma has now surrounded himself entirely with sycophants and yes men.
“He has fired people of proven competence, such as Pravin Gordhan, and has replaced them with those who will do his bidding, like Malusi Gigaba.
“He (Zuma) reminds me of Adolf Hitler in the bunker in the last days of the war, paranoid and delusional, moving around non-existent battalions while the inevitable was obvious for sane people to see,” Selfe said.
He told supporters not to lose hope, saying whoever takes over from Zuma after the ANC elective conference in December would “inherit a divided, dispirited, disillusioned and incoherent organisation, motivated entirely by how much they can plunder from the taxpayer”.
Selfe asked DA supporters to grow the party's members with the view of becoming the governing party.