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‘NPA powers were abused to influence presidential election process’

Zuma’s lawyers say abuse of the NPA’s powers was an attempt to undermine the structures of governance.

Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

PRETORIA - President Jacob Zuma's legal team says the powers of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) were abused to influence South Africa's presidential election process.

The argument was presented in the Democratic Alliance's (DA) application in the High Court in Pretoria to have the decision to withdraw criminal against Zuma set aside.

Former prosecution boss Mokotedi Mpshe withdrew the case in 2009, after Zuma made representations which included the so-called spy tapes.

The secret recording showed that Scorpions Head Leonard McCarthy was timing the charges in order to influence the African National Congress's Polokwane conference to favour Former President Thabo Mbeki.

Advocate Kemp J Kemp says McCarthy's abuse of the NPA's powers was an attempt to undermine the country's structures of governance.

"These powers are now blatantly used to try and decisively influence the outcome of the presidential election process."

He says Mpshe's decision was laudable.

"What Mr Mpshe is saying is, if you use powers to engineer political results, we won't prosecute him."

Kemp dismissed the DA's argument that the timing of the charges was irrelevant.