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By Chisom Jenniffer Okoye


Experts slam ‘weak’ NPA for dropping Zuma case

When charges are provisionally dropped by the NPA, it usually means they were unable to gather sufficient evidence, one expert says.

The National Prosecution Authority (NPA)’s plan to provisionally withdraw charges against Duduzane Zuma today is embarrassing and makes them look “vulnerable and weak”, a legal expert says.

The prosecuting body confirmed its intention to drop charges against former president Jacob Zuma’s son yesterday. The charges can always be reinstated.

The charges were related to his attempt to allegedly bribe then deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas at the Gupta family’s Saxonwold home in October 2015. It is alleged that, at the meeting, Duduzane, businessperson Fana Hlongwane and Ajay Gupta offered Jonas the job of finance minister and a bribe of R600 million.

NPA regional prosecutor Bulelwa Vimbani-Shuma said in a letter to Zuma the reason behind the withdrawal was “due to the fact that Jonas’s evidence before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture has not yet been finalised”.

“It is in the interest of justice not to proceed with the criminal case at this stage.”

Law expert June Marks said when charges were provisionally dropped by the NPA, it usually meant they were unable to gather sufficient evidence.

“The arrest should never have happened if they knew they had insufficient evidence to prove their case.”

Another law expert, Ian Levvit, said what the NPA was doing was similar to the Estina diary case in which the prosecuting body appeared inept and unprepared after pressing charges against the Guptas.

“The NPA obviously rushed into pressing charges against young Zuma and they have now put themselves in a very embarrassing position of having to withdraw the case. They now appear vulnerable and weak and look like they did not know what needed to be done,” he said.

Despite this, he didn’t feel that the withdrawal would affect the credibility of the NPA as they were still doing the right thing. It was good that they had “acknowledged that they had messed up”, Levvit said.

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