Jacob Zuma and others face prosecution
1 January 2008
We have decided to issue the statement to explain the true facts and place matters in the proper context.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has reached the decision to prosecute Mr Jacob Zuma, Thint Holdings (Southern Africa) (Pty) Ltd and Thint (Pty) Ltd, after careful consideration of the facts and evidence.
This decision was further reinforced by the various rulings in the High Courts, the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court in South Africa, relating to the same subject matter.
These charges are the result of a thorough reappraisal of the evidence obtained prior to the Shaik trial, further evidence that emerged during that trial, and the new evidence which has been gathered in the months following its conclusion.
The charge sheet speaks for itself and it would be imprudent to make pronouncements about a case in which criminal proceedings are effectively under way. Technically, the matter is sub judice and best left for the courts to deal with.
An indictment has been issued for trial in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, commencing on 4 August 2008. However, the prosecution is ready to proceed on the earliest date on which the court may be able to accommodate this case, should the defence so wish. Any delays in the commencement of the trial are accordingly entirely in the hands of the defendant parties and their legal teams.
The NPA is sensitive to the controversy which this decision evokes. We are also aware of claims that the NPA is being misused to advance the political and other objectives of certain individuals. This is not so. The decision has been made by the NPA and the NPA alone. Our only allegiance is to the Constitution of the country, which compels us to prosecute serious matters such as the present one without fear, favour or prejudice. We are obliged to carry out this mandate, however unpopular it might be.
We have also taken note of the opinion of certain persons and organisations who seemingly hold the view that Mr Zuma cannot have a fair trial for various reasons. If this is true, Mr Zuma has legal remedies under the Constitution at his disposal, to assert his rights. We are not prepared to engage with these unfounded accusations in the media. We will, however, respond at the appropriate time, to such facts as may be put before court and under oath by any of the defendants.
We appeal for calm heads and cool tempers. In particular, there is a need for those persons who hold positions of political authority to exercise restraint in their reactions to this decision.
The eyes of the country and the world will be on us. It is incumbent upon us all to demonstrate that we live in a mature democracy, whose citizens and the institutions respect the law and those who enforce it.
Enquiries: Tlali Tlali
Cell: 082 3333 880
Issued by: National Prosecuting Authority
1 January 2008