Advocate Hermione Cronje, the outgoing head of the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) Investigating Directorate (ID), allegedly resigned because she was under political pressure to charge and prosecute the leaders of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
That’s according to EFF leader Julius Malema, who claims that Cronje was given the mandate by the governing ANC to charge him and his deputy, Floyd Shivambu, by no later than March next year.
“The ANC, DA and white monopoly capital has tried to accuse us of this or that. Now Cronje has resigned from the NPA.
“[Do] you know why? She was given a mandate, ‘you must charge Malema [and] Shivambu before March next year. We don’t care what you do’,” Malema said, without giving any evidence to back up his claims.
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The EFF leader was speaking to the media on Monday outside the Randburg Magistrates Court where he and party MP, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, appeared for their assault case in connection with an incident that occurred at the funeral of struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in 2018.
The case was deferred to 7 April 2022 after it emerged that one of the instructing attorneys had Covid-19 symptoms.
‘It’s political targeting’
Malema accused the ANC and DA of putting a target on his back since the establishment of the EFF in 2013.
He said law-enforcement agencies had tried over the years to find dirt on the EFF and its leadership but they were unsuccessful.
“There is nothing that she [Cronje] can use to charge us and she had pressure to just charge individually. This thing called special priority crimes is no longer working on real crime, it’s political targeting,” Malema said.
“They target individuals and then they smear you and leave you out there, they don’t care what happens and you live with a permanent dark cloud,” he added.
Malema claimed his party had given both the ANC and DA “nightmares” and that is why they were being allegedly targeted.
“We have given these people a nightmare, both the DA and the ANC.
“If there was anything tangible by now they would have produced it. Why are they not producing it? They just smear people and then leave you out there,” he said.
‘NPA is not in a crisis’
Meanwhile, speaking at a media briefing on Monday, the head of the NPA, advocate Shamila Batohi, rubbished media reports that Cronje’s resignation was due to a strained relationship between the two of them.
This follows a City Press report at the weekend that there was friction between the pair over the running of the ID, with claims of interference in the appointment of the ID’s officials.
“It makes for dramatic reporting, that is where it ends,” Batohi said.
She said despite speculation to the contrary, the NPA was not in a crisis.
“And there is no widespread sabotage of the ID or any part of the NPA taking place,” she said, adding that Cronje’s resignation was the “culmination of various factors”.
Batohi last Thursday announced Cronje’s pending exit from the NPA. She said she would recommend that President Cyril Ramaphosa accept Cronje’s resignation, effective 1 March 2022.
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