Reports in the Mercury that the KwaZulu-Natal Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Adv. Moipone Noko, has provisionally withdrawn charges against corruption-accused Thoshan Panday and policeman Navin Madhoe demand further explanation.
The DA will be asking the Acting National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) at the first available opportunity, when she appears before the Justice Portfolio Committee, to provide reasons for the withdrawal of these charges.
According to the report, Adv. Noko initially acknowledged that there is "a prosecutable case" and that there is prima facie evidence. She subsequently, rather illogically, stated that she has received representations which raised some concerns and that "in the interests of justice" she was withdrawing the charges. Can we infer from this that these representations may implicate other, perhaps high-profile and politically connected individuals?
How can it possibly be in the interests of justice to withdraw charges where there is a prosecutable case? If there is prima facie evidence, the proper place to test the case is in the courts, not in the office of the DPP.
This sounds remarkably similar to the case of President Zuma, whose 783 charges were withdrawn in April 2009 after representations were made to the NDPP. Reports that Mr Panday has close links with the President only serve to heighten our suspicions.
It is in the interests of justice that the public be informed of the real reasons for the withdrawal of charges, and we shall do everything to ensure that we find out.
Debbie Schafer, Shadow Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development