Tapes are ‘overrated’

The controversial tapes central to the National Prosecuting Authority’s reasons for dropping charges against Jacob Zuma are “overrated” and there are many other reasons for stopping proceedings.

“The Zuma case was not tainted simply because of the recordings,” Paul Ngobeni, University of Cape Town deputy registrar and Zuma legal ally, told the Mail & Guardian. “I identified no less than 18 reasons which provide a solid basis for dismissing the Zuma case — Zuma is entitled to argue for a dismissal of his case under the doctrine of abuse of process.”

The tapes as clearly overrated, he said. “There are easier methods of proving the substance of what is contained in the tapes through the testimony of the actors under oath. They risk perjury charges if they deny the obvious and they can also be used to authenticate the tapes themselves.” He said Leonard McCarthy and Bulelani Ncguka should face charges of perjury.

NPA boss Mokotedi Mpshe recognised “the futility of proceeding” with a case “riddled with such blatant misconduct and manipulations”, he said. It is “perfectly all right to call upon our courts to refuse to countenance prosecution behaviour that threatens either basic human rights or the rule of law”.

Ngobeni dismissed the criticism that Mpshe went against last year’s Supreme Court of Appeal ruling, citing previous Supreme Court rulings that differed with the so-called Louis Harms judgment.

“The doctrine of abuse of process is based on the human rights enshrined in the constitutions of most democracies. Harms is an apartheid product who still needs serious re-educating about these matters.”

Ngobeni believed that Mpshe made the right call not to take the matter to a judge.

“The other prosecutors who want to shift this constitutional responsibility to the courts are seriously confused. They are mimicking the idiotic utterances by those politicians who insist that Zuma must prove his innocence in court despite the Constitution’s provisions.”

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Yolandi Groenewald
Yolandi Groenewald
Yolandi Groenewald is a South African environmental reporter, particularly experienced in the investigative field. After 10 years at the Mail & Guardian, she signed on with City Press in 2011. Her investigative environmental features have been recognised with numerous national journalism awards. Her coverage revolves around climate change politics, land reform, polluting mines, and environmental health. The world’s journey to find a deal to address climate change has shaped her career to a great degree. Yolandi attended her first climate change conference in Montreal in 2005. In the last decade, she has been present at seven of the COP’s, including the all-important COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009. South Africa’s own addiction to coal in the midst of these talks has featured prominently in her reports.

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