Barring the DA from NPA announcement will be seen as part of a 'cover-up'
Helen Zille, Leader of the Democratic Alliance
5 April 2009
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has refused to allow me entry to its press conference tomorrow where it will reportedly announce the dropping of the charges against Jacob Zuma. There is already a perception that the NPA is engaged in a cover-up. Barring the official opposition from its press conference will add weight to this perception.
Press conferences are by their very nature intended to be open and transparent. There is no reason to bar interested parties from them.
In this case there is an additional reason for the DA to be present. We were given permission by the NPA to submit reasons, in the form of representations, why the case against Jacob Zuma should not be withdrawn. If the charges are indeed withdrawn, it will mean that the NPA rejected our submission. We have not been informed of this by the NPA. They have, however, recgonised the DA as an interested party in this matter, which has profound constitutional implications. It is therefore unacceptable that we have been barred from a press conference which will announce the outcome of the NPA’s deliberations on the entire Zuma matter, including the DA’s submissions.
For this reason, I will go to the press conference in Pretoria tomorrow.
Perhaps the NPA fears the DA’s presence at the press conference because they know we will not countenance a cover-up. We want to know why the Zuma submissions could not be made in open court as part of Zuma’s defence. Even if there was a conspiracy against him, this does not imply his innocence. It only means other people must be charged as well. We will demand to know the full reasons behind the decision as well as full disclosure of all the documents and tapes that led to this decision. If the charges are dropped, we will consider taking legal action to have them re-instated.
The DA believes that Jacob Zuma has a case to answer, whether or not there was interference in the NPA and whether or not other leading ANC figures were engaged in corrupt activities. If members of the NPA allowed political manipulation in the case, they must be charged. Everyone in the ANC who is alleged to have taken bribes in the arms deal must be charged too.
Just because everybody has to answer for alleged wrongdoing should not mean that nobody should be charged. On the contrary, we need to find out the role played by each protagonist and try them in an open court. This is the only way that the truth will out and justice will be served. The sooner we do this, the sooner we can put the arms deal behind us and rebuild the integrity of the state institutions that have been compromised in this sordid saga.