Opposition slams NPA’s spy tapes appeal as “unsurprising”


A number of the country’s opposition parties have taken aim at National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Head, Shaun Abrahams, following his announcement that it would appeal the Pretoria High Court’s ruling into the so-called spy-tape saga against President Jacob Zuma.

Last month, Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba ruled that then NPA boss, Mokotedi Mpshe, acted irrationally by withdrawing the 783 charges of fraud and racketing against Zuma six years ago, and that the matter be set aside.

Announcing the NPA’s decision in Pretoria on Monday morning, Abrahams said the matter has important significance “which affects all prosecutions”, and that the eventual decision considered after numerous meetings and consultations with senior NPA members.

He however denied that the appeal merely served as an attempt to delay the matter further, saying he had studied the ruling and considered if there were grounds in place for it to be heard before the Supreme Court of Appeal.

“Whatever decision I make, it will illicit criticism. But it is not my job to please,” Eyewitness News quoted him as saying before the verdict was given.

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane however described the NPA’s decision “as a blatant delaying tactic to shield Zuma” from the charges, adding that the 11th hour decision acted as a way of telling South Africans that “more public money will fund the process to delay President Zuma from having his day in court”.

“This matter presented the Adv Abrahams with an opportunity to show his independence and proceed with this prosecution as planned, and give Jacob Zuma a court date. Sadly, this opportunity was missed,” Maimane said in a statement.

“The reasons advanced by Adv Abrahams is a farce. He is pre-occupied with protecting President Zuma at all costs. [However] President Zuma will eventually have his day in court, and justice will prevail, no matter how many tricks and delaying tactics are used by the state”.

Similarly, Congress of the People (Cope) spokesperson Dennis Bloem said Abrahams’ announcement does not come as a surprise as he “is more than a puppet of the regime with no respect for the rule of law”.

“For Abrahams to suggest that the court was wrong to come to the decision it did and that furthermore such a decision attacked the separation of powers is totally absurd,” Bloem said.

“His attempt to convince us was just plain pathetic. In the court of well-informed public opinion, he will be found grossly wanting because his argument lacked substance and his brave talk was a dead giveaway of a man who lacked both conviction and good cause”.

Freedom Front Plus (FF+) leader Pieter Mulder also stated that the NPA’s appeal was expected in light of the August third local government elections.

“The president always says that he is innocent and wishes for his day in court to prove his innocence. He once again had such an opportunity here. But, like so many times before, certain processes are being used to keep him out of court, and this takes place at the expense of taxpayers,” Mulder said.

Presidency spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga has meanwhile stated that Zuma feels vindicated by the NPA’s decision to appeal the ruling, as “he is of the view that the Court erred in several respects in its decision”.