‘I should have faced charges’

• Pres­i­dent con­cedes that NPA should re­in­state le­gal ac­tion but wants op­por­tu­nity to make fresh rep­re­sen­ta­tions

Business Day - - NATIONAL - Genevieve Quin­tal Po­lit­i­cal Writer quin­talg@busi­nesslive.co.za

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma has con­ceded that the 2009 de­ci­sion to have cor­rup­tion charges against him dropped was ir­ra­tional, say­ing he wants the Na­tional Prose­cut­ing Author­ity (NPA) to make a ra­tio­nal one.

In an 11th-hour con­ces­sion on Thurs­day, Kemp J Kemp rep­re­sent­ing Zuma told the Supreme Court of Ap­peal (SCA) in Bloem­fontein that his client had con­ceded to this, but wanted the op­por­tu­nity to make fresh rep­re­sen­ta­tions be­fore the NPA de­cided to recharge him.

This would put the de­ci­sion on whether Zuma ul­ti­mately faces 783 counts of cor­rup­tion, rack­e­teer­ing, money laun­der­ing and fraud in the hands of Na­tional Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Prose­cu­tions Shaun Abra­hams.

But Judge Ma­homed Navsa said those pro­cesses were not for the SCA to de­cide on.

Abra­hams and the NPA have been ac­cused of pro­tect­ing Zuma. For the past decade, the NPA has been seen to be po­lit­i­cally cap­tured. It has also been ac­cused of bias and se­lec­tive pros­e­cu­tion. The de­ci­sion to drop the charges against Zuma was taken in April 2009 by then act­ing di­rec­tor of prose­cu­tions Mokotedi Mp­she.

The DA ap­proached the High Court in Pre­to­ria to have the de­ci­sion de­clared null and void and, in April 2016, the court ruled that the prose­cut­ing author­ity re­in­state the charges.

Zuma and the NPA ap­proached the SCA in a bid to ap­peal against this rul­ing.

DA fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive chair­man James Selfe said that, given the weight of the con­ces­sions made by Zuma and the NPA, it was in­evitable that the pres­i­dent would face the charges.

FOR THE PAST DECADE THE NA­TIONAL PROSE­CU­TIONS AUTHOR­ITY HAS BEEN AC­CUSED OF BIAS

“As we all know, the pres­i­dent is an ex­pert on de­lay­ing tac­tics and what we would want the court to do is to lay some­thing down about the process that needs to be fol­lowed to get Ja­cob Zuma to ap­pear in a dock in a court within the next cou­ple of months.”

Hil­ton Ep­stein, for the NPA, ar­gued that Mp­she’s de­ci­sion to drop the charges was based on the tim­ing of the in­dict­ment be­ing served and that there was po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence by Scor­pi­ons boss Leonard Mc­Carthy, who was a staunch sup­porter of for­mer pres­i­dent Thabo Mbeki.

This was when Zuma was jock­ey­ing against Mbeki for the po­si­tion of ANC pres­i­dent at the 2007 Polok­wane con­fer­ence.

If the SCA dis­missed the ap­pli­ca­tion for leave to ap­peal and up­held the high court judg­ment, the NPA wants the de­ci­sion of whether Zuma is charged to re­vert to Abra­hams.

How­ever, Judge Azhar Cachalia said it was his un­der­stand­ing that Abra­hams would be bound by the de­ci­sion of his pre­de­ces­sor. Zuma had al­ready made rep­re­sen­ta­tions, which were re­jected in 2009, when the de­ci­sion was taken to pros­e­cute him. “If Mr Abra­hams is con­cerned that he has to reap­ply his mind afresh, we will be here nine years later,” he said.

Judg­ment was re­served. NPA spokesman Lu­vuyo Mfaku said the con­ces­sion was not an em­bar­rass­ment for the in­sti­tu­tion.

/The Times

Le­gal headache: Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma has ac­knowl­edged that the NPA’s 2009 de­ci­sion to drop the 783 charges of cor­rup­tion, rack­e­teer­ing, money laun­der­ing and fraud against him was an ir­ra­tional choice.

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