Opposition parties have reacted with outrage at South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) dropping corruption charges against ruling ANC party leader Jacob Zuma, amid jubilation from Zuma’s supporters.
The Congress of the People (COPE), whose leaders recently broke away from the ANC, reacted in a hard-hitting press release:
The NPA’s decision to drop the charges against Jacob Zuma does not safeguard justice, due process or equality before the law. Instead, it guarantees that the president of the African National Congress, and the party’s presidential candidate, will forever be branded a criminal suspect in the eyes of much of the nation and the world. This decision is a blow to our democracy that will be felt for years to come. The NPA in this act has undermined the Constitution and impoverished our judicial system thus exposing the people of South Africa to future miscarriages of justice.
The fact that the charges were dropped following information passed to the NPA by National Intelligence Agency sources has also caused concern. The information was apparently obtained by electronic cellphone intercepts, the legality and ethics of which are not clear. The NPA, however, did take the step of declassifying these.
The party demanded urgent action:
COPE calls for united action by all South Africans. We urge all eminent persons and defenders of our freedom and constitution to take lead and rally all people of South Africa in a public protest against the ANC attack on our constitutional structures. South Africans must demand the following:
Mr. Zuma must clear himself in an open court
Abuse of state powers by intelligence operatives must be investigated
The alleged "conspirators" must be charged
Cope call upon all political parties, civil society and faith organisations to unite and show leadership in defence of our constitution and our democracy. South Africa deserves better. The dream of 1994 is dying, killed by the ANC and its Alliance partners – South Africa is in great peril. All patriots must defend it.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Official Opposition, Helen Zille, called the decision “unlawful,” saying:
”The evidence presented by the National Director of Public Prosecutions today does not change the fact that there is a strong case against Zuma. That case must go to court. This evidence must be processed through the proper legal channels. It must be examined and cross-examined in court. At the moment, we have the worst of all possible worlds, with selective prosecutions depending on who holds political office.”
Opposition Signals Stop to ANC
The DA’s Lindiwe Mazibuko sent an official press release, which stated the party’s lawyers were considering legal action:
”They are studying today’s announcement closely. It is clear that the NPA is compromised in this matter. The only way that justice will prevail is if the decision to drop the charges is reviewed in open court.”