Former president Jacob Zuma intends making National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams the target of his bid to undo his decision to pursue fraud and corruption charges against him, TimesLive reported. This is despite accusations against Abrahams that he was protecting Zuma.
A little over a week ago, Abrahams announced that the NPA would go ahead with the charges against Zuma, which are based on 783 payments made to him as part of a "bribe" by his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik. Shaik was convicted of fraud and corruption related to the payments.
Abrahams acquired the nickname "Shaun The Sheep" as he was seen as soft on Zuma and his friends, the Guptas. Opposition parties and civil society groups have called for his removal. But part of Zuma's strategy is reportedly to call into question Abrahams' fitness to decide his fate.
Last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal set aside previous NDPP Mokotedi Mphse's 2009 decision to drop the charges against Zuma. Zuma was then given permission to make representations to Abrahams in a final attempt to avoid being prosecuted, but this failed to convince the team appointed by Abrahams to help him make the decision.
According to TimesLive, Zuma's lawyer, Michael Hulley, is currently consulting Zuma on whether he will launch a legal challenge to review Abrahams' decision. If this does not happen, Zuma will reportedly have to appear in court soon. If it does, Zuma's team will have to apply to have his prosecution stayed until the review application is finalised – a process that could take up to two years, TimesLive reported.
Last weekend, Hulley reportedly said the team was considering the "one-page and somewhat terse response received from the NDPP wherein he has advised that the representations made on behalf of Mr Jacob Zuma are unsuccessful. The rationale for this decision is not clearly apparent from the communication, nor is the basis for the refusal."
TimesLive reported that the Constitutional Court's decision on whether Abrahams' appointment is valid will heavily influence his legal challenge. If the court rules that his appointment – ironically, by Zuma after he controversially removed Mxolisi Nxasana from the post, is invalid, Zuma is likely to say this casts doubt on his decision to go after Zuma.
And Zuma's team is also likely to argue that Abrahams could not make a neutral decision because his job is under threat, as he has been accused in court of taking Zuma's side in the spy tapes case.
As TimesLive reported, the irony is that Zuma admitted in court that his decision to give Nxasana a R17-million "golden handshake" was unlawful. Abrahams was then appointed.
According to Eyewitness News (EWN), the case against Zuma has been handed to the KwaZulu-Natal director of public prosecutions, Moipone Noko. She reportedly also formed part of the team which assessed Zuma's representations to Abrahams.
Last weekend, the Sunday Times reported that Zuma's defence strategy will include trying to convince a court that he had no criminal intentions, and that his actions, allegedly intervening to advance Shaik's business prospects, were in line with the ANC's BEE strategy.