Vusi Pikoli, former National Director of the Public Prosecutor's Office (NDPP), has disclosed the reasons why he had decided to raise allegations of corruption against former President Jacob Zuma in 2005.
In an affidavit filed before the KwaZulu-Natal High Court, Pikoli said he acted "cautiously and in accordance with legal requirements."
Zuma has filed a 300-page affidavit with the High Court, requesting a permanent prosecution process.
In August 2003, Pikoli reversed the decision of his predecessor Bulelani Ngcuka that there was no reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution of Zuma.
Shaun Abrahams was one of the former NDPPs who filed affidavits, while Mokotedi Mpshe and the former Scorpions heard that Leonard McCarthy refused to consult with the state.
"I admit that my decision was significant," said Pikoli in his affidavit.
He said his decision to prosecute Zuma was followed by evidence emerging in the trial of Zuma's former financial adviser and convicted scammer Schabir Shaik.
He added that the prosecution had brought the evidence to his attention and that it was evidence that was not ahead of Ngcuka at the time he made his decision.
"The fact that the sum of all payments to Mr. Zuma, even without interest, was more than R 4 million is an important new fact, which was and is far beyond what Mr. Zuma could afford repay legitimate income, "he said.
"After a thorough assessment of all available facts, evidence and circumstances, there was a reasonable chance of a successful prosecution, and I deny that there were exceptional circumstances justifying my decision to prosecute Mr. Zuma."
Pikoli said Ngcuka has ruled that there is insufficient evidence to charge Zuma for filing charges against him.
In its 2003 ruling, Ngcuka said that although there was a seemingly straightforward case of corruption against Zuma, it was doubtful that the National Prosecutor's (NPA)'s chances of success were strong enough for a "profitable" case.
Ngcuka also said he believed that the decision to prosecute the prosecutor at the time "could worsen the already strained political climate and even lead to political violence."
However, Pikoli said following the briefing of the prosecutor's team on 17 June 2005 and the talks with senior NPA advisers and his own in-depth review of the trial court's verdict in the Shaik case – he concluded that, in fact, a sensible perspective insist on a successful pursuit of Zuma.
"Mr. Shaik's attempt to explain innocently that the payments are loans and that written loan agreements exist to substantiate these circumstances was rejected by the court.
"In particular, the so-called revolving loan agreement, which was introduced as part of the defense process, proved to be a fraud," Pikoli argued in his affidavit.
Decision to prosecute
He said the decision to prosecute Zuma was based on his assessment of admissible evidence and the prospect of successful prosecution and "nothing else."
"In light of my assessment of these matters, I believed that the interests of the judiciary required an indictment of Mr. Zuma, and what I did not do was to place myself in Mr. Ngcuka's position and to accept his decision based on the judgment. which were available at the time he took it.
"In fact, I did not ask to be informed about what this evidence was, so I did not know what it was, focusing on what the Shaik trial had found to be done and what the prosecution was doing He believed that they could prove and how they intended to do so in any future trial of Mr. Zuma.
At Zuma's last appearance before the KwaZulu-Natal Supreme Court in Pietermaritzburg on November 30, 2018, deputy judge Mjabuliseni Madondo ordered that the permanent ban on prosecutors should be heard along with the criminal case on May 20.
Thales, the defense company involved with Zuma, filed an application with the High Court for a definitive repeal of the prosecution.
She claimed that a fair trial for unacceptable delays had been rejected, and the right to produce and challenge evidence was also rejected.
Zuma faces serious allegations, including a number of scandals, two cases of corruption, a number of money laundering cases and 12 cases of fraud involving 783 payments allegedly received in connection with the controversial arms deal.