- The South African National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has made a landmark decision to drop charges against the ruling party leader, Jacob Zuma.
With just two weeks to the national elections, the NPA Director, Mokotedi Mpshe told a media conference in Pretoria that the authority had made a decision to drop the charges after having studied new evidence produced by the defense team.
He read to the press conference some of the transcripted recordings between the former head of the NPA Bulelani Ngcuka, and other people, including the former Scorpion's Chief, Leonard MacCathy saying it was an indication that other purposes, other than that of prosecuting for justice were in the play.
The prosecution has also said there were no statements directly implicating the former president, Thabo Mbeki, except mentions of the 'big man at Shell House'.
Mr Mpshe said though it was a very difficult decision to make, and after having spent so much time and money on investigations, it would have been a defeating exercise to go on with the prosecution. He however also stated that apart from those mentioned, the prosecution team had at all times worked professional in regard to the matter.
The decision by the NPA means Mr Zuma can now go to contest the elections with a clear head and nothing hanging above his head. He was expected to appear before the court in August this year to face corruption, raketeering and money laundering charges.
The decision by the NPA has come under fire, also sparking new suspicions that a political underhand was at play to erase any embarassments of a possible sitting president to appear in court on criminal charges.
Mr Zuma's former financial adviser, Shabir Sheik, has recently been given a controversial medical parole having served just less than three years of his 15 years jail term. He was convicted on some of the same counts than Mr Zuma would have faced.
In summing up his lengthy decision, the NPA Director however called for a full investigation into the whole saga, saying the NPA report will be handed over to the Minister of Justice, who will in turn give it to the office of the presidency to act upon.
The dropping of charges against Mr Zuma have been hailed from some quarters as a well timed move to save the country from future political embarassments, while on the other side, it has been seen as a circus taking centre stage in the future politics and justice dispensation of the country.
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