It’s now up to Shaun

Pres­i­dent con­cedes NPA’s de­ci­sion to drop charges was ir­ra­tional He now seeks to make new rep­re­sen­ta­tion

Sowetan - - Front Page - By Genevieve Quin­tal

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.

/SIYABONGA MOSUNKUTU

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma may fi­nally face 783 charges of cor­rup­tion.

NHLAPO /VELI

For­mer act­ing NDPP di­rec­tor Mokotedi Mp­she

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