‘It’s grotesque’: the NPA is obsessed with me, says Zuma
He accuses prosecutors of political manipulation and abuse of process since the arms deal probe began, because they want him convicted ‘at all costs’
Former president Jacob Zuma says no other person has suffered as much “personal and political prejudice ... since the advent of constitutional and democratic South Africa” as he has in the past 15 years – and the National Prosecuting Authority is to blame.
In a new affidavit filed as part of Zuma’s high court bid to have his corruption prosecution permanently stopped, he argues that the humiliation and mistreatment he has suffered at the hands of his prosecutors is unparalleled in democratic SA history.
“From the inception of the investigation of the arms deal to date, the prosecution against me is replete with instances of political manipulation and abuse of process by the NPA ... I have become a career obsession of some prosecutors, whose goal is to secure my conviction at all costs.”
Zuma also argues that the so-called spy tape recordings of former prosecutions boss Bulelani Ngcuka, discussing the timing of him being recharged with Scorpions head Leonard McCarthy, “reveals the most grotesque political manipulation and interference ever experienced in the post-apartheid criminal justice system”.
Those recordings prompted former acting chief prosecutor Mokotedi Mpshe to drop the corruption case against Zuma on the basis that it had been fatally tainted by political interference. That decision was later overturned in court.
Zuma now says documents he recently obtained from the NPA – under threat of possible legal action – have fortified his views that he was unfairly targeted by the state.
“The NPA documents also reveal that some of the people that the NPA wanted to testify against me were not willing to testify,” Zuma states.
“I challenge the NPA to provide me with the list of witnesses which was compiled after or shortly before advocate Shaun Abrahams’s decision to charge me (or reinstate) charges against me.”
Zuma further accuses the NPA of misleading the courts and the public by portraying him as “the person who is avoiding facing trial” when, he argues, the NPA could have put him on trial as early as 2002 but chose not to. Zuma’s application for a permanent stay of his prosecution is based on his argument that the NPA should have charged him with corruption with his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik, and unfairly delayed putting him on trial.
The state argues that Shaik and his company, Nkobi Holdings, made 783 payments to Zuma, totalling more than R4m, in the 10 years between October 25 1995 and July 1 2005. In return for these payments, the state claims, Zuma abused his formal position as MEC and as deputy president of the ANC to do unlawful favours for Shaik and his company.
The state further alleges that French arms company Thales “conspired with Shaik and Zuma to pay Zuma the amount of R500,000 per annum as a bribe” in exchange for Zuma’s protection from any arms deal investigations.
Zuma denies any wrongdoing.
He also argues that his right to a fair trial has been severely compromised by “pre-trial irregularities, political or executive interference” and “forensic prejudice” including loss of evidence and memory loss linked to the state’s delays in putting him on trial. He vehemently denies that he himself was responsible for these delays, because of the multiple legal challenges he brought to various aspects of the case against him, as well as to the conduct of the NPA.
“It will further be opportunistically argued by the NPA that the current application for a permanent stay of prosecution is a further delaying tactic on my part.
“That would be tantamount to arguing that I cannot use the law where it doesn’t suit the NPA or some interested parties like the DA, even if the constitution and the law allows this. That cannot be correct in a constitutional democracy.”
The NPA will respond to Zuma’s permanent stay application in early March.