De­lay in ap­point­ing new NPA boss ‘has zero bear­ing on state cap­ture probe’

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - KAILENE PIL­LAY

THE de­vel­op­ments and de­lays in ap­point­ing a new Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity (NPA) head should have no bear­ing on the Hawks’ probe into state cap­ture, say an­a­lysts.

The dead­line for Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa to an­nounce a new Na­tional Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Prose­cu­tions (NDPP) has fallen away un­til Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s ap­peal is dealt with.

Ac­cord­ing to the spokesper­son for the NPA, Lu­vuyo Mfaku, the De­cem­ber court or­der for Ramaphosa to an­nounce a new NDPP by Fe­bru­ary 6 has been sus­pended. He did not com­ment fur­ther on the mat­ter.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Ralph Mathekga said, as an in­ves­tiga­tive author­ity, the Hawks’ cases could not come to a stand­still for any rea­son.

“The Hawks must con­tinue to do their job. This has zero bear­ing on the cases and the mat­ter of an NPA head does not mean cases must not be pros­e­cuted,” Mathekga said.

He laughed off ru­mours of for­mer pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela as a likely can­di­date for NPA head Shaun Abra­hams’ job.

“Those who are say­ing Thuli could be the next NPA head are un­re­al­is­tic. Let’s not be shy about it – the ANC does not like peo­ple like her so we all need to cap that en­thu­si­asm. It is not im­pos­si­ble but it is highly im­prob­a­ble,” he said.

Abra­hams’ fu­ture was put on the line after the Pre­to­ria High Court re­viewed and set aside his ap­point­ment in De­cem­ber. Ramaphosa was given the power to ap­point the head of the NPA after the judg­ment, which found that Zuma was com­pro­mised be­cause of the cor­rup­tion charges he faced.

Zuma‚ the NPA and Abra­hams have ap­pealed the rul­ing in the Con­sti­tu­tional Court.

Gareth Ne­wham, head of the Jus­tice and Vi­o­lence Pre­ven­tion Pro­gramme at the In­sti­tute for Se­cu­rity Stud­ies, said the judg­ment was held in abeyance un­til the ap­peal process was fi­nalised.

“There­fore, the 60 days (for Ramaphosa to ap­point a new NPA head) will only start if the ap­peal is de­nied and Zuma does not pe­ti­tion the Supreme Court of Ap­peal.”

Look­ing at how this would af­fect the Hawks in­ves­ti­ga­tions into state cap­ture and the rea­son­ing be­hind no arrests be­ing made, Ne­wham said the ab­sence of arrests was “be­cause of the dere­lic­tion of duty by key peo­ple in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem”.

“The Gup­tas should have been crim­i­nally in­ves­ti­gated as far back as 2013 when they com­pro­mised the na­tional se­cu­rity of South Africa by or­ches­trat­ing the land­ing of a plane full of for­eign na­tion­als at Waterk­loof,” he said.

Ne­wham said that it ap­peared in­ves­ti­ga­tions only started in earnest dur­ing the course of last year and he hoped that the Com­mis­sion of In­quiry into State Cap­ture “would throw light on those in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem who failed in their du­ties”.

He added that it would be dif­fi­cult to tell what im­pact this would have on the 783 cor­rup­tion charges Zuma faces as there was a widely held per­cep­tion that Abra­hams bent over back­wards to as­sist Zuma in avoid­ing his day in court.

“For ex­am­ple, de­spite the hard ev­i­dence im­pli­cat­ing Zuma in crim­i­nal­ity, the NDPP acted in con­cert with Zuma’s at­tempts to fight the de­ci­sion that with­draw­ing the crim­i­nal charges was ir­ra­tional. The NDPP has fur­ther al­lowed to make ad­di­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tions as to why he should not be pros­e­cuted, even go­ing as far as to ex­tend the dead­line for such sub­mis­sions,” he said.

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