JOHANNESBURG – DA leader Mmusi Maimane slammed the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) decision to appeal President Jacob Zuma’s corruption case as a “blatant delaying tactic”.
He’s accused the NPA of shielding the president from facing almost 800 charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering.
The charges, relating to a multi-billion dollar arms deal, were dropped in 2009, clearing the way for Zuma to be elected president just weeks later.
But the North Gauteng High Court said the decision was “irrational” and said it should be reviewed.
“The judgment of the full bench of the Pretoria high court is also a matter that seriously affects the separation of powers,” said NPA head Shaun Abrahams on Monday morning.
“This is an important matter of principle which affects all prosecutions. It is so important that I believe it needs a decision of an appeal court.”
Abrahams said the move is not to delay the protracted saga.
“We did consider the approach of direct access to the Constitutional Court but we felt that this is a matter of such significance and importance that we must show confidence in the Supreme Court of Appeal and that is why we have adopted this route.
“So it was never an issue of attempting to delay this issue. I categorically deny that there is any attempts from the NPA to try and delay this matter,” he said.
Maimane said the NPA had “waited until the 11th hour to announce its appeal – and in doing so effectively told the people of South Africa that more public money will fund the process to delay President Zuma from finally having his day in court”.
He said Abrahams’ claims that he was acting in the best interests of prosecutorial independence was a farce.
Maimane said Zuma would eventually have his day in court, “and justice will prevail, no matter how many tricks and delaying tactics are used by the state”.