President Jacob Zuma now has until January 31 2018 to argue why he should not face prosecution for charges of corruption and fraud, according to a letter sent to him by the national director of public prosecutions Shaun Abrahams.
Zuma’s lawyers had earlier written a letter to Abrahams requesting a postponement until February 2018 because the president is tied up in other litigation. But Abrahams sent a letter to Zuma instructing him to make representations by the January deadline.
“After due consideration of all the relevant factors, I deemed it in the interest of the administration of justice and fairness that I accede to Mr Zuma’s request for an extension, but curtailed the period within which his representations should reach my office by no later than 31 January 2018,” Abrahams said in his letter.
The NDPP also warned that “no further request for an extension for the submission of his representations will be entertained”.
According to Abrahams, Zuma had asked for an extension because:
- His lawyers were unavailable until mid-December due to “prior litigation commitments”;
- The case is “complex and voluminous”;
- There have been developments in the case since Zuma first made representations 8 years ago; and his team needs time to review these developments as they make representations; and
- Zuma would be unavailable for consultation until after December 20
December 20 is the date the ANC’s elective conference ends. The president, in essence, has used the conference as one of the reasons why he should be allowed an extension.
Zuma was initially given a chance to make representations to Abrahams before November 30 after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed Zuma’s attempt to set aside a high court judgment which ruled that the decision to drop corruption charges against him was irrational.
The court put Zuma’s fate in the hands of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), but Abrahams, as NPA boss, has been accused of protecting the president.
Abrahams is also potentially facing the chop after the Pretoria high court ruled last week that his appointment was invalid and he should vacate his office. Zuma has indicated he will appeal the decision, but in the meantime the NDPP has granted the president a little more time to argue his case.
The matter relates to the so-called spy tapes case, where Zuma faces charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering on 783 counts.