CAPE TOWN, November 12– The National Prosecuting Authority on Monday confirmed that it has extended the deadline for President Jacob Zuma to submit fresh representations on his corruption charges to January 31.
NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said Zuma requested an extension sent by his lawyers two days before the original deadline of November 30.
Mfaku said prosecuting authority boss Shaun Abrahams had been abroad and considered the request upon his return. He declined the request of an extension to February 19 and instead granted an extension to the end of January in the “interests of fairness”.
“Due to the urgency of the matter he (Abrahams) decided that the 19th of February would not be in line with the process of ensuring that the matter is finalised speedily. That is why he declined”, Mfaku said.
He said the prosecution team was still evaluating the evidentiary material and “advised they will only be in a position to advise him on the way forward by the end of January”.
Mfaku said Abrahams does not want the matter to drag on and feels it must be treated “with the urgency that it deserves”. He said the NPA would not entertain any further requests for an extension.
Public interest and the lapse of time had contributed to Abrahams’ decision to decline an extension to February and Mfaku insisted this was to ensure the matter is finalised “speedily”.
Zuma faces 783 counts of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering.
In October, after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed Zuma and the NPA’s application to appeal a High Court ruling that the 2009 decision to drop corruption charges against him was irrational, the President was given until the end of November to make fresh representations.
The charges relate to Zuma’s alleged corrupt involvement in the multi billion rand arms deal.
– African News Agency (ANA)