It’s now up to Shaun
President concedes NPA’s decision to drop charges was irrational He now seeks to make new representation
President Jacob Zuma may finally have his day in court. This came after he conceded that the National Prosecuting Authority’s 2009 decision to drop charges of corruption charges against him was irrational.
Zuma has previously said he is ready to have his day in court. However, he has challenged each and every decision to have the 783 charges of fraud and corruption against him reinstated
In an 11th hour concession yesterday, Kemp J Kemp for Zuma told the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) that his client wanted the opportunity to make fresh representations before the NPA decided to recharge him.
This would put the decision on whether Zuma ultimately faces the 783 corruption charges in the hands of National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams. Abrahams and the NPA have been accused of protecting Zuma.
However, Justice Mahomed Navsa said those processes were not for the SCA to decide on. The decision to drop the charges against Zuma was taken in April 2009 by then acting NDPP Mokotedi Mpshe. He is currently an acting judge in the Mahikeng High Court.
The DA approached the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to have the decision declared null and void and, in April 2016, the court ruled that the NPA reinstate the charges.
Zuma and the NPA approached the SCA in a bid to appeal this ruling.
DA federal executive chairman James Selfe said given the weight of the concessions given by Zuma and the NPA, it was inevitable that the president would face the corruption charges.
“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 court in 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, a staunch supporter of Mbeki.
At the time Zuma was contesting Mbeki as ANC president at the 2007 Polokwane conference. If the SCA upholds the high court judgment, the NPA wants the decision on whether Zuma is charged to revert to Abrahams.
However, Justice Azhar Cachalia said it was his understanding that Abrahams would be bound by the decision of his predecessor. Zuma had already made representations 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.”
Justice Eric Leach questioned why Zuma had approached the court if he was ultimately agreeing with the high court ruling.
Kemp said he wanted the court to set out further processes. This would include allowing Zuma to make fresh representations so the NPA could decide whether to prosecute.
Judgment in the matter was reserved.
James Grant, at the Wits School of Law, said there was no suggestion that Mpshe’s decision to drop charges was in bad faith or corrupt.
President Jacob Zuma may finally face 783 charges of corruption.
Former acting NDPP director Mokotedi Mpshe