D-day for prosecutions team to decide if NPA should go after Zuma

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shaun Abrahams will receive recommendations on Friday on whether or not former president Jacob Zuma should be prosecuted for charges of fraud, racketeering, money laundering and corruption.

Abrahams set a deadline last week for a prosecuting team inside the NPA to report to him on whether Zuma should be prosecuted for charges related to the spy tapes saga. The team includes senior prosecutor Billy Downer, who led the NPA team that was investigating Zuma.

In 2015, Downer submitted an affidavit where he stated that he told former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka in 2003 that there was enough evidence to prosecute Zuma.

“I confirm that I urged Ngcuka to prosecute Zuma. I did so on the basis of the prosecution team’s assessment of the strength of the evidence against him. The prosecution team believed that there were reasonable prospects of success,” Downer said in his affidavit.

Downer, who is the current deputy director of public prosecutions in the Western Cape, later criticised the 2009 decision by former prosecutions boss Mokotedi Mpshe to withdraw charges against Zuma.


The current NPA team who will make recommendations on Zuma’s prosecution is led by Advocate Moipone Noko. She was appointed to be director of public prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal in 2013 by Zuma despite being investigated for maladministration, favouritism and abuse of her office.

The team also includes Lungi Mahlati, the Eastern Cape director of public prosecutions, Raymond Mathunjwa, a senior deputy director of public prosecutions‚ and Bloemfontein regional head Alinicia Coetzee.

The recommendations Abrahams expects to receive on Friday come after Zuma finally submitted representations at the end of January on why he should not be prosecuted after his deadline from last year was extended.

Prosecutors have been given close to three weeks to study Zuma’s arguments before they submit their recommendations to Abrahams.

In October 2017, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) upheld a decision by the Pretoria high court that charges against Zuma should be reinstated. The SCA said that the decision to withdraw charges against Zuma was “irrational”. 

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