NPA choice to drop charges ‘the right one’

2014-10-01 00:00

THE decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to drop corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma “was the right decision for the organisation”.

Handwritten notes from meetings held by the NPA’s top management in 2009 show the authority thought long and hard about dropping the charges.

“The NPA must not be seen as part of a cover up,” reads one of the handwritten notes that formed part of the “spy tape” documents handed to the DA in September. The party is studying the documents as part of its planned review application against the decision to drop about 700 charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering against Zuma.

Advocate Mokotedi Mpshe, then acting NPA head, decided in April 2009 to drop the charges. The notes also mention a meeting between Zuma’s attorney Michael Hulley and the NPA.

In that meeting Hulley questioned the timing of the charges against Zuma, especially as the general elections of 2009 were getting closer.

Zuma was already the ANC president at that time. The NPA top management met after they had listened to the “spy tapes”.

In that meeting one of the managers with the initials WH — apparently referring to advocate Willie Hofmeyr — according to the notes said: “I would say this is probably the most difficult decision, it is difficult to say if it is right.

“It is however the correct decision for the organisation [NPA].”

WH wrote the NPA would not be able to defend the discussions of the spy tapes, as it would open the NPA to attacks, adding they had to find a way to stand strong under political pressure.

The notes warned the news of the dropped charges would be a big challenge to convey to South Africans and advised the NPA to be ultra cautious.

The managers noted as a team to Mpshe the “impact of the decision is critical” and a heavy responsibility on him.

The managers warned the reasons given for the decision would also be critical, as they would have to make public all the contents of the tapes, adding the NPA must not be seen as part of a cover-up to protect Zuma.

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