In the Estina case, the NPA did not produce the documents made available in former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture investigation, including the bank records showing the flow of money.

"It is as if they have forgotten how to conduct a case. They no longer have the expertise. The incompetence is now ingrained," said a source with intimate knowledge of the case.

But was the NPA acting deliberately to damage its own cases?

Replacing Shaun Abrahams as national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) with a credible candidate will go a long way towards repairing the reputation of the National Prosecuting Authority, but there is no magic fix for the institutional paralysis and contamination of the organisation. Abrahams and former acting NDPP Nomgcobo Jiba acted wilfully to protect former president Jacob Zuma, his cronies and perpetrators of state capture from prosecution, while selectively targeting their political opponents. Jiba, for example, dropped charges against former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli but tried without success to institute charges against former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen. Abrahams created an embarrassing fiasco by trying to charge Pravin Gordhan when he was finance minister, and withdrawing the charges later.Under his watch, evidence of state capture has been awash in the public domain, but the Gupta network has been relatively untroubled. The NPA has so far acte...

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