NEWS
01/02/2018 06:57 SAST | Updated 01/02/2018 06:58 SAST

Prosecutors Given Two Weeks To Consider Zuma's New Representations

The charges against Zuma relate to the 1999 arms deal, for which his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik was convicted of fraud and corruption.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Advocate Shaun Abrahams has given prosecutors two weeks to consider President Jacob Zuma's new representations, and then a decision will be made on how to proceed, according to Eyewitness News (EWN).

President Jacob Zuma made representations to the NPA explaining why he thinks he should not be prosecuted for fraud and corruption, News24 reported. Zuma's deadline for making these representations was January 31, and Zuma's lawyers reportedly handed them to the NPA at 9pm on Wednesday night.

Abrahams reportedly personally received them.

Abrahams appointed a team of advocates to advise him on the matter, which includes a former prosecutor in the original corruption case against Zuma, Billy Downer.

Zuma lost a lengthy court battle brought by the DA to have the decision to drop the charges against him declared irrational. The charges against Zuma relate to the 1999 arms deal, for which his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik was convicted of fraud and corruption.

Former NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe dropped the charges in 2009 on the grounds that, according to the "Spy Tapes", recordings of telephone conversations between then Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka, there had been political interference in the decision to charge him.

But the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed this as a reason for Zuma not to be charged. Zuma then asked Abrahams for an opportunity to make new representations on why he should not be charged, and the deadline was November 2017. Zuma asked for an extension until the end of January this year.

According to Eyewitness News (EWN), Zuma asked for the deadline to be moved to the middle of February but this request was refused, and he was warned that no further extensions would be allowed.

In a letter sent to Zuma's legal team late last year, Abrahams reportedly said that all of the 218 witnesses on the original indictment were available to testify should Zuma be recharged. He reportedly said that the scope for representations was extremely limited because the courts had rejected those submitted in 2009.

Business Day reported that Zuma's representations are expected to centre around the credibility of the KPMG forensic report into his finances, which formed the basis for the initial indictment against him. This follows questions about the firm's ethics after the work it did for the Gupta family and Sars.

The DA was also given the opportunity to make submissions, and it did so on November 30, IOL reported. In a statement, DA leader Mmusi Maimane reportedly said that Zuma must be recharged and reiterated that the charges against him were irrationally dropped in 2009.

"However, in the unlikely event that President Zuma does, in fact, have materially new and relevant submissions to make, these ought to be considered by a court of law, not the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Shaun Abrahams," he reportedly said.

The DA also asked Abrahams for an opportunity to respond should Zuma's representations provide new, material reasons why he should not be prosecuted.