The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) statement that Mmusi Maimane is “mischievous” for accusing the unit’s head, Shaun Abrahams, of dragging his feet on prosecuting President Jacob Zuma stirred a lively debate on Facebook.
In the statement from last night, NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said: “The NDPP [Shaun Abrahams] referred all matters relating to the Nkandla investigation to the acting head of Specialised Commercial Crime Unit [SCCU], Advocate Malini Govender,” and added Maimane was given an update to all his written requests on the progress of the case.
The statement also explained the ‘spy tapes’ matter was “pending in [the] Supreme Court of Appeal [SCA]. There are important legal issues impacting on the work of the NPA that must be clarified by the SCA”.
Mfaku also explained Abrahams did not “take prosecutorial decisions unless … requested to review … in terms of section 179 (5) of the Constitution”, and that “the NPA achieved a remarkable overall 93.8% conviction rate in the past two years under the stewardship of Advocate Abrahams”.
Social media users were quick to remind the NPA that the unit itself may have dabbled in political expediency.
“I look forward to an NPA statement one day asserting what they’ve done by the South African public instead of denials of their political stances. I look forward to prosecutors who are proud to have convicted criminals rather than defending themselves,” one user wrote.
The head of communications at the prosecutions authority, Bulelwa Makeke, challenged those taking the unit to task to stop being selective in their assessment of her boss’ performance.
“They [media statements] are issued every day. I invite you to go to the NPA Facebook page now, and you’ll see them. You probably also miss them as they turn out to be media articles in the newspapers every day,” Makeke argued.
This invitation for members of the public to dig deeper on social media proved to be inadequate.
“I’ve just seen those that made accusations about a rogue unit and non-existent pension fraud which were later withdrawn. Or maybe I’ve missed about real frauds at PRASA, Transnet, Eskom, Denel…etc. Maybe I’ve missed those about PRECCA and POCA cases that have been prosecuted. How about those of disbarred deputy DPPs? I could go on you see,” Makeke was told.
This exchange, particularly the NPA’s diplomacy, proved to be too much to bear for one user.
“Mfcmmm. Nithetha nje kuba kunga buhlungwanga uthetha [talk is cheap]. All of Mzantsi know that the NPA is Mr Zuma’s personal agency. I stand with the DA in this one. Suka!” he said.
Columnist Palesa Morudu reminded her followers: “Shem! But he [Abrahams] acted with speed and much enthusiasm in relation to Pravin Gordhan.” Nicole Eisenberg concurred: “Didn’t he just? So fast!”