President Jacob Zuma. Picture: KOPANO TLAPE/GCIS
President Jacob Zuma. Picture: KOPANO TLAPE/GCIS

Having spent most of this year disturbing no-one in some placid meadow far away from any action, it’s telling that Shaun Abrahams, the soon-to-be former boss of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), has suddenly sprung to life.

Only, he hasn’t woken to nail those "capturing" the state; rather, he’s risen in a bid to win yet another reprieve for his boss, President Jacob Zuma. The NPA is now allowing Zuma more time to make fresh representations on why he shouldn’t face 783 criminal counts.

So it was ironic that, last week, a full bench of the high court set aside Abrahams’ appointment as invalid and said deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa — not Zuma — should appoint the next NPA boss. The judges were explicit in condemning Zuma’s conduct.

Zuma’s "Stalingrad approach" of wearing down the plaintiff by tenaciously fighting anything he or she presents, has thwarted SA’s ineffective, clueless prosecutors for almost a decade now.

In that time, the NPA has been hollowed out. Its fragility as an institution will, we fear, be all too clear should, say, Steinhoff’s directors be accused of fraud. Perhaps the only comfort for South Africans, who can take pride in the judiciary, is that the battle of Stalingrad ended, and did so badly for the Nazi assault. Zuma might do well to read his history.

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