The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) on Monday slammed the decision of the National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams to extend President Jacob Zuma's deadline to submit his new representations to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
"We are not aware of any case where someone facing 783 [counts] of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering has been given three months to make representations. We challenge Advocate Abrahams to produce a list of other suspected criminals who have been given a chance to make such representations," Saftu acting spokesperson Patrick Craven said in a statement on Monday.
"All this decision is doing is to confirm that we have moved away from the Freedom Charter and the Constitution that emphatically state that all shall be equal before the law."
NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku on Monday told News24 that the president's legal representatives had written to Abrahams, requesting an extension until February 19, which Abrahams had refused.
He gave them until January 31, saying any further requests for extensions "won't be entertained".
Mfaku said Abrahams had considered a number of factors, including the fact that the prosecution team was still evaluating evidential material.
"More worryingly, Abrahams' very appointment has been reversed by a full bench of the North Gauteng High Court. That case again represented a defeat of President Zuma's zeal to domesticate state institutions as he packs all of them with his yes-men and women as part of the elaborate plan to frustrate justice," Craven said.
Saftu also condemned the "lame excuses" given by Abrahams, which "imply either a complete failure on his part to appreciate the seriousness and urgency of the matter before the court, or, more likely, a political ruse to protect his political ally".
"His reasons include that his lawyers were unavailable until mid-December due to 'prior litigation commitments'; the case is 'complex and voluminous'; there have been developments in the case since Zuma first made representations eight years ago and his team needs time to review these developments as they make representations; and Zuma would be unavailable for consultation until after December 20.
'Political motive at play'
"That last excuse is probably the real reason for the extension. 20 December is the closing day of the ANC's elective conference, which strongly suggests that Abrahams has a political motive – to avoid embarrassing Zuma at this important event, the outcome of which could determine his political and personal future."
The NPA had initially given Zuma until November 30 to make his representations, after the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed his and the NPA's application to appeal a high court ruling that the 2009 decision to drop corruption charges against him was irrational.
"Saftu demands that the SCA rejects this extension and charges Abrahams with defeating the ends of justice or contempt of court for defying its clear ruling. He must also account for his failure to prosecute any of the others against whom there is now clear prima facie evidence of corruption, fraud, money laundering and other financial offences.
"While everyone, including Zuma, has the right to a fair trial, this must not mean that he can keep indefinitely postponing his day in court, through appeals and extensions. It is in the interest of the administration of justice and fairness to bring to court Zuma, and all those others whose corrupt activities have thrown the country into such an economic and political abyss, as soon as possible."