Zuma delaying again. Time for a real NDPP to Prosecute Zuma
The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the judgment by the North Gauteng High Court effectively setting aside the appointment of Shaun Abrahams as National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), and ordering him to vacate office. Predictably, the President has indicated he will appeal this judgment, another attempt to delay the start of the criminal trial he should have faced years ago.
No matter the appeal, Shaun Abrahams should vacate office and let someone who can actually do the job take over. He has distinguished himself in his incompetence, by taking absolutely no proactive action on any of the allegations of corruption and state capture that have come to light in recent months. He has deferred to the President, and has consistently failed to assert his own independence and that of the NPA.
We also welcome the Court’s decision to remove the power of appointing a new NDPP from President Jacob Zuma, and to grant Deputy President Ramaphosa the power to appoint a new NDPP within 60 days. Deputy President Ramaphosa should oppose the President’s appeal, and do what the Court has instructed him to do. This is the perfect opportunity for Ramaphosa to demonstrate his real commitment to fighting the scourge of corruption in the state by appointing someone of obvious integrity and independence. We call on him to not wait 60 days to do so, but to do so without delay.
The NDPP is currently working on the existing criminal charges against President Zuma and should be planning the President’s upcoming trial. We need a new NDPP soon who will pursue the prosecution of the President with the vigour that the case deserves, and that has been so lacking in previous National Directors. Whatever happens in this appeal, there is no basis for any further delay to the Zuma trial. We expect that the NDPP should proceed to trial without delay.
This judgment is now the second time that President Zuma’s powers have been limited because he is so compromised. Zuma has proved he is not willing to appoint an independent NDPP who will act without fear or favour towards him as President. Every person he has appointed to the job has been manifestly unsuitable, given the job only to protect the President from prosecution. The NPA was the first state institution to be captured, and the Court has today struck a blow against that capture and in favour of a truly independent, muscular national prosecutor. Similarly, the previous Public Protector ordered the President Zuma should not be allowed to appoint a judge to lead an inquiry into state capture.
This is why the DA has previously proposed that the President’s power to appoint the NDPP be removed, and be vested with Parliament.
It is clear the President is incapable of exercising the powers of his Office. Cyril Ramaphosa should act without delay and appoint a National Director that will begin to restore the NPA’s reputation and its independence.
Statement issued by Mmusi Maimane, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 8 December 2017