The Zuma Prosecution – Lessons Tutored

It could only have happened in South Afrika whereby a prima facie case of corruption, money laundering and racketeering has to be decided on a technicality. On Monday April 6 the National Prosecuting Authority made its announcement that they can not proceed with the prosecution of African National Congress President Jacob Zuma due to meddling in the process by former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy (now World Bank employee) and former National Prosecuting Authority boss Bulelani Ngcuka (now a businessman).

However these are two men who were at some stage trusted by their comrades and vested with the responsibility of leading one of the most respected offices in the criminal and legal systems. However as evidence contained in taped conversations between the two parties indicate; they conspired to put the brakes on Zuma’s ambitions to be the next ANC president and by extension South Afrika’s president by charging him just before and/or after the watershed Polokwane conference. Then another mystery figure, billionaire Mzi Khumalo is heavily implicated.

The ‘ever-dilligentNational Intelligence Agency monitored their communication and handed the tapes over to the Zuma defence team led by Michael Hulley which they presented to the NPA as part of their presentation.

But, at the media conference NPA Acting Head Advocate Mokotedi Mpshe was at pains to legitimize how the tapes were made. His reasoning that they were made as part of the NIA’s investigation into the Browse Mole Report stand on shaky ground. First; the agency needs a high court order (from a sitting judge) to monitor electronic communication and they should convince the judge that there is no way such information can be obtained without resorting to covert activity.

I doubt that there was no way that they could monitor McCarthy without tapping his phone given that he was on the employ of NPA heading the Directorate of Special Operations and his co-operation could always be solicited through his bosses.

Maybe they tapped Bulelani’s phone as a private citizen – and gave whatever compelling reasons to the judge who authorised it. However the fact that such intelligence was handed over to Zuma’s defence team suggests that the team knew about its existence before it became public knowledge. Which suggests an abuse of state organs given that Zuma could access data held by NIA while he is just a private citizen and Mpshe said that the information has just been recently declassified. Declassified means it has now been made available to the public, which should include Zuma – but apparently he was privy to their existence before all of us.

Now; if there are lessons to be learnt here by the ANC is that they should stop obsessing with this policy of deploying only their comrades to these strategic positions which has seen many of their senior comrades behaving in a partisan manner at the time that they should have put the nation forward. I would bet my last dime and allege that if Ngcuka was not an ANC person he wouldn’t have been interested in who won the Polokwane race but how the institution he used to belong to functioned. If McCarthy was just like any other person he also wouldn’t have had vested political interest.

And now this thing of deploying police commissioners when constables should be allowed to mature through the ranks of the force to become commissioners will one day backfire – as it nearly did with Western Cape’s Mzwandile Petrus and Jackie Selebi, because suddenly political considerations will take the front seat when it comes to criminal investigations.

Prior to provincial conferences we will have people arrested, charged and detained to block them from higher political office. But if public servants are allowed to be mere competent folks who don’t need political affiliation to advance, the public service, of which the NPA, NIA and South African Police Service are a part will not function effectively and serve all South Afrikans without fear, favour or malice.

This should start with depoliticizing workers unions so as to not create an impression that some people are closer to power by virtue of the party they belong to, which might be friendly to the ruling party and a stepping stone to power.

Lessons should be learnt and I hope the ANC as the future government of this country has. The ANC must build institutions that will survive individuals and political parties. Zuma will come and go, the ANC will come and go, but the NPA, NIA and SAPS must prevail. Anyway they should be the legacy of the party.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4/06/2009

    The manner is which the NPA handled the case, their findings, reasons and conclusions suggest too much


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