NPA: Khwezi was ‘protected and housed’, but never paid
National Prosecuting Authority says it can find no record of payments to Zuma's rape accuser, Fezeka ‘Khwezi’ Kuzwayo
The National Prosecuting Authority has denied that it ever made any payments to the woman who accused former president Jacob Zuma of rape – and says she was “protected and housed” by the police in a safe house.
The state was responding to a series of demands by Zuma’s lawyers for information he believes is relevant to his application for a permanent stay of his corruption prosecution.
As part of that response, it has also handed over the “materials relating to the income tax offences” for which Zuma has been charged. These relate to Zuma’s alleged failures to submit tax returns from 1995 to 2003 and declare income of R2.7m, as well as the alleged evasion of R1.6m in tax.
Zuma settled his tax issues with Sars after being served with the 2007 indictment against him.
But the state’s lead investigator previously argued to the Constitutional Court that this settlement did not mean he should be let off the hook.
“The ‘regularisation’ of his tax affairs after years of delinquency does not exculpate him any more than a thief who repays the stolen money, or a shoplifter who attempts to replace the stolen goods on the shelf after he is caught,” Colonel Johan du Plooy stated.
The state has further provided the documents and evidence that were in front of former national director of public prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka when he decided not to put Zuma on trial with his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik in August 2003. Prior to Shaik’s trial, Ngcuka announced that, while the state believed it had a prima facie corruption case against Zuma, it was unsure whether that case was “winnable”.
Zuma maintains that he “virtually challenged and invited the NPA to charge me and resolve issues of my guilt once and for all in a trial” at that time, and argues Ngcuka’s failure to do so was part of a conspiracy to neutralise him politically.
The NPA will file its response to these and other accusations in the coming months.
In May this year, the Pietermaritzburg High Court will hear arguments as to why the case against Zuma and French arms company Thales should or should not go ahead.
In 1997, French arms company Thompson-CSF, now known as Thales, scored a R2.6bn contract to provide four navy frigates to SA’s government, as part of the wider R60bn arms deal. As corruption rumours grew, the state alleges that Thales allegedly agreed in 2002 to pay R500,000 to Zuma, then SA’s deputy president, for his “political protection” in any investigation – a deal allegedly brokered by Shaik.
It is further the state’s case against Zuma that Shaik and his Nkobi Holdings made 783 payments to Zuma totalling more than R4m in the 10-year period between October 25 1995 and July 1 2005. In return for these payments, the state claims, Zuma abused his formal position as an MEC in KZN and as deputy president of the ANC to do unlawful favours for Shaik – who would be jailed for his role in the matter – and Nkobi Holdings.
Zuma’s permanent stay application is his last hope of stopping his trial on these charges from proceeding. He says his prosecution has been defined by political manipulation, undue delay and “blatant prosecutorial bias”, all designed “to prejudice me and declare me synonymous with crime and corruption”.
“Without due process or court determination of my guilt or otherwise, I have faced public and media prosecution engineered and orchestrated by the NPA itself, the result of which is that my name has already been made to be synonymous with corruption,” Zuma said in court papers.
He has slammed Ngcuka for not charging him with Shaik, against the advice of his own prosecutors, and accuses the NPA of “17 years of delay” in pursuing the case against him, “leaving me ... having to recall past events with the normal fallibility that I have in common with other human beings of memory and loss of access to documents and persons immediately involved with my professional life at various stages across the past 17 years”.
Zuma further maintains that the NPA should answer to allegations that “public and private funds were used to influence the rape charge” laid against him more than a decade ago.
His rape accuser, Fezeka “Khwezi” Kuzwayo, went into hiding after she accused him of rape in 2005. Her mother’s home was burnt down and, following Zuma’s acquittal, she and her mother fled the country. She died more than two years ago.
In court papers Zuma has suggested that the rape case against him was part of “concerted efforts to get me convicted of a crime” and rule him out of the ANC’s 2007 leadership race.
In a letter sent to Zuma’s lawyers on January 7, the state attorney said the NPA had been unable to find “copies of accounting payments relating to payments made from November 2005 to August 2008 to or for the complainant in the rape trial of Mr Zuma”.
The state attorney added that “our instructions are the NPA made no payments to the complainant”.