/ 31 March 2009

Zuma still in the dark about his fate

African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma is waiting, like the rest of South Africa, to hear whether the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will drop graft charges against him, he said on Tuesday.

”… the fact that I submitted or made submissions to the NPA is a well-known fact and the fact they will review my submissions is a well-known fact,” he told a business breakfast in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.

”What we did not know, what was going to be their decision. The decision could be that they are proceeding with the case or, given the clarifications given, they might feel the case cannot proceed. We don’t know what the NPA is going to say.”

He criticised opposition parties for pre-empting the NPA’s decision after Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille made submissions to the NPA on why the charges against Zuma should not be dropped.

”It is hypocritical to say you respect the Constitution and the rule of law and when the processes of the law are happening within the law … both the accused and the NPA are operating within the law, why do you jump and interfere?

”You even attack a decision that does not exist,” he said.

Zuma, the ANC’s presidential candidate, was facing fraud and corruption charges related to a multibillion-rand government arms deal.

The NPA went into its second day of talks on Tuesday over whether to continue with or drop Zuma’s corruption case. The meeting was assessing representations Zuma’s legal team had made to the NPA in the hopes of having the case dropped.

NPA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said on Monday that NPA bosses were locked in a marathon meeting to discuss an ”entire basket of information”.

”It is this entire basket of information that must be properly considered. It is our view that it is not in anyone’s interest for this issue to remain unresolved over a lengthy period of time,” Tlali said.

”The NPA is giving it [the] priority attention it deserves. The urgency that attaches to the process should not be at the expense of procedures that as a matter of law must be followed.

”The NPA will appropriately communicate its decision once there is one in place,” he said.

Media reports had indicated the charges would be dropped.

Business Day newspaper reported that sources close to the meeting said the NPA was expected to make an announcement at a press conference on Tuesday.

The announcement could end a lengthy legal battle between the authority and Zuma. — Sapa