20/04/2018 13:58 SAST | Updated 20/04/2018 14:18 SAST

Duduzane Zuma 'Likely To Be Found Guilty', Say Legal Experts

"There is a good case against him. They were supposed to go ahead with prosecution a long time ago."

Duduzane Zuma.
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Duduzane Zuma.

The National Prosecution Authority (NPA) will be going ahead with charges against Duduzane Zuma, after his failure to meet a two-month deadline to make representations.

The former president's son faces a charge of culpable homicide, after his Porsche collided with a minibus taxi in 2014, killing Phumzile Dube.

Director at Sheridan Attorneys, Donovan Sheridan, says he does not believe allegations that the prosecution team's attempt to nail Zuma is purely the result of the NPA not being able to do so in other cases relating to his involvement with the Guptas, as some Zuma supporters think.

"There is a good case against him. They were supposed to go ahead with with prosecution a long time ago," he said.

He said the only other challenge NPA faces is actually getting Zuma to court.

"I do not think he is in the country. For them to get him before the court will be another process. He would have to be extradited, and that is not a quick process," Sheridan said.

President of the Black Lawyers Association, Lutendo Sigogo, says there is no way the NPA would have re-opened the case if they did not have more evidence.

"In law we say you are as good as the evidence before you. If the NPA does not have good evidence and [its] investigations are not properly done, [it would not proceed] because the case has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. If [it doesn't believe it can] sustain that, there is no way a person [would] be charged," he said.

If he is charged, he will probably be found guilty.

He also does not think the authority is deliberately targeting Zuma for political reasons.

"We must be very slow to come to such conclusions without concrete evidence – because we do not want or accept that the NPA [would] act maliciously against members of the public; including Duduzane Zuma."

He said: "In this case, if they [were] coming with this matter because they were failing to get him on other issues, that to us [would be] abuse of the criminal justice system – and we will not support that. We believe they are doing it now because they have credible evidence which can sustain a conviction."

Malcolm Lutge, owner of Durban law firm MP Lutge Attorneys Inc., believes that the NPA would not be bringing the prosecution if it were not sure of its case, so since Zuma is being charged, this does not bode well for him.

"If he is charged, he will probably be found guilty," he said.

According to Lutge, there are no "real consequences" to Zuma not handing in representations; it just means that the case can go ahead with no delay.

"Unless he has some special reason for not handing in representations, he will not get another chance – it's very unlikely," Lutge said.

However, he says Zuma's absence will slow down the process, because "you cannot run a trial without the accused".

AfriForum Private Prosecution

On Thursday‚ AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said the minority rights group had already approached the NPA, as it wanted to privately prosecute Zuma.

The NPA initially declined to prosecute Zuma's son, leading to AfriForum announcement that it would seek a private prosecution in 2017.

"Shaun Abrahams (the DPP) decided to give Duduzane Zuma the opportunity to make representations. Those representations had to be in on March 23. Unfortunately‚ Mr Abrahams did not ask the Dube family to also make representations. We believe it is fair time to give Mr Abrahams a month to take his decision."

"At the beginning of May, we will follow up. If there's not going to be a prosecution, we will start with the process to privately prosecute Mr Duduzane Zuma‚" said Kriel.