Justice Malala | NDPP’s Zuma move a sham
You could hear the cries of “Hallelujah!” ringing across the nation on Friday afternoon as it was announced that former president Jacob Zuma would finally stand trial for fraud, corruption, money-laundering and racketeering. National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams told the nation the trial “would be the most appropriate forum for these issues to be ventilated”. It’s all a sham, actually. Contrast Abrahams’s announcement with his performance back in 2016, when he huffed and puffed and contorted himself in front of the nation as he announced false and malicious fraud charges against then-finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Asked about the timing of his charges, Abrahams repeatedly denied that the NPA was being politically manipulated to go after perceived enemies of state capture and Zuma. “What if this decision was made by a judge, what if this decision was made by the public protector, would your reaction have been the same? “The days of disrespecting decisions of the National Prosecuting Authority are over," he huffed. Well, we know now that those charges were false and Abrahams had to withdraw them. The mud hadn’t stuck. The NPA is still disrespected. As he charged Gordhan, the nation was clamouring for charges to be laid against the Gupta family and others for various serious allegations of state capture. Abrahams did nothing. So what are we to make of his newfound enthusiasm for charges against Zuma and for law and order in general? The truth is that it is all a heap of horse manure. Since the days of Mokotedi Mpshe, the acting chief prosecutor who first handed Zuma a get-out-of-jail-free card back in 2009, we have had a compromised NPA. Abrahams is just the latest of a procession of empty suits, manipulated by Zuma, who have occupied the position. So it was outrageous for him to announce the decision to go ahead with the charges against Zuma. The nation does not trust this blustering fool after all these years of protecting Zuma. He has no credibility. Even when he decides to go to trial against Zuma I don’t trust him. Is he doing the bidding of the ANC’s new masters? Even if Cyril Ramaphosa did not and would not give him an instruction to do so, would he be doing so to get their favour? We do not know, but I would not rule it out.
Officials who kowtow to a discredited regime are always the first to try and brown nose a new leadership. The heart of the matter is that it is not enough for Zuma to have been forced out. The institutions that he has so spectacularly hollowed out must follow. Decisions made by Abrahams are not only suspect, they are dangerous and could possibly be challenged in court. It is not Abrahams alone. Think about the SA Revenue Service commissioner, Tom Moyane, last week rushing to tell us that he had, after years of stalling, taken action on his compromised deputy. It is incredible that a man who has done so much damage to SARS and its reputation is still in his job. Who can trust SARS today? It’s a mess. Onwards to the public protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, a person who has taken a worldclass institution and turned it into a laughing stock and a first-class centre of mediocrity. You listen to her reading her reports and you realise just how blessed this country was to have Thuli Madonsela as our public protector. Of course we must go after Zuma and the many cronies who helped him turn South Africa Inc into Guptastan. When we do so, however, it must be on the basis of the rule of law, not because he is now no longer the flavour of the month. Zuma and his state capture cronies must be pursued by credible, independent, professional institutions. Shaun Abrahams is not credible. If he had an ounce of decency in his body he would resign. It tells us so much that he won’t. It is therefore incumbent on Ramaphosa and the justice minister (who is rather spineless himself, having kept schtum all this time) to fire the man. They should not stop there. Weed out all the other Gupta stooges too: Moyane, Mkhwebane and a whole range of other dodgy characters. The country wants this to happen and our people deserve only the best and most credible civil servants working for them.