Zuma will face corruption charges as NPA’s decision ‘irrational’
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma will finally have his day in court after the president conceded the National Prosecuting Authority’s 2009 decision to drop charges of corruption charges against him was irrational.
Zuma has previously told public gatherings that he is ready to have his day in court. However, he has challenged every decision that sought to have the 783 charges of fraud and corruption reinstated.
The 11th-hour concession was made by Kemp J Kemp, appearing for Zuma at the Supreme Court of Appeal yesterday.
Now Zuma wants another opportunity to make fresh representations to the NPA before it decides to recharge him.
This development now places the matter – to decide whether Zuma should face 783 counts of fraud and corruption – at the door of current National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams.
Abrahams and the NPA have been accused of protecting Zuma and serving his interests. The prosecutorial body has also been accused of bias and selective prosecution. The decision to drop charges against Zuma was taken in April 2009 by then acting NDPP Mokotedi Mpshe.
The case arose after the DA approached the North Gauteng High Court asking that Mpshe’s decision be declared null and void. In April last year, the court granted the DA’s prayer, ordering the NPA to reinstate the charges. Zuma and the NPA then approached the SCA to appeal this ruling.
DA federal executive chairman James Selfe said that given the weight of the concessions given by Zuma and the NPA it was inevitable the president would face the corruption charges.
“What we’re hoping the court will do is go ahead and give some clarity to the process that must now take place,” he said.
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 seen as a supporter of former president Thabo Mbeki. This was when Zuma was contesting Mbeki for the position of ANC president at the 2007 Polokwane conference.
If the SCA dismisses the application for leave to appeal and upholds the high court judgment, the NPA wants the decision of whether Zuma is charged to revert back to Abrahams.
However, Justice Azhar Cach-alia said it was his understanding Abrahams would be bound by the decision of his predecessor. Judgment in the matter was reserved. NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku, after court proceedings, would not comment further on proceedings, saying the NPA would wait until the SCA had handed down judgment. — DDC