On Monday morning a group of veterans of the United Democratic Front (UDF) marched from Constitution House to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) office in Cape Town where they delivered a letter to Advocate Rodney de Kock, Director of Public Prosecutions. The letter, which was addressed to National Director of the NPA Shaun Abrahams, demanded that all government officials and civilians involved in bribery be prosecuted urgently.
The UDF was the organisation that led the struggle against apartheid inside South Africa in the 1980s. When the ANC was unbanned, the UDF disbanded and most of its members joined the ANC.
De Kock invited the group into the boardroom where Zelda Holtzman, one the UDF veterans, introduced the group and their reason for the meeting. Holtzman explained that the UDF veterans were “deeply disappointed and angered” by the lack of urgency in prosecuting those involved in corruption. Madoda Cuphe, another UDF veteran, proceeded to read the letter to De Kock.
The letter, which was signed by over 50 UDF veterans, stated: “We are aware that in mid-September the Supreme Court of Appeal will be hearing your appeal against charges being reinstated against Jacob Zuma, the president of the country, on 783 counts of corruption. We demand that you immediately prosecute Jacob Zuma and withdraw your appeal.”
The other demands included a list of all current cases relating to state capture including “detailed time frames, charges, where these have been laid and the court dates where these have been set”. They also demanded that the NPA institute asset forfeiture proceedings against everyone who benefited financially from illegal activities. Lastly, they demanded that the NPA provide detailed feedback on the matter by close of business on Monday, 14 August.
De Kock signed the acknowledgment of receipt and assured the group that he will pass the letter on to Abrahams who is based at the Pretoria office. He advised the group to contact Abrahams’ office directly in future.
Zackie Achmat, one of the UDF veterans, said that if they did not get a satisfactory response by Monday, they would pursue further legal and protest action.
Marcella Naidoo, spokesperson for the veterans, explained that they wanted to show a presence of the older generation who contributed to the struggle in the 70s and 80s. She said: “UDF was committed to values of non-racialism and justice [during the apartheid struggle] and we want to see that commitment rekindled.”
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