‘I will stand by my president’
A HANDFUL of ANC supporters outside the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein had mixed reactions yesterday following the news that judgment was reserved in the spy tapes case being appealed.
This after President Jacob Zuma’s lawyers conceded that criminal charges against him were irrational.
Members who were wearing mainly ANC colours stood outside the court for the better part of proceedings chanting in support of Zuma.
They said that they would stand by Zuma despite the court’s decision.
Advocate Hilton Epstein, appearing on behalf of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had a hard time convincing the court of his argument that the decision by former Director of Public Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe was legally valid when deciding to withdraw 783 charges against the president.
Moeketsi Mokoena of section J Botshabelo said he would continue to support Zuma until the court decided otherwise.
“The court said judgment is reserved, it does not necessarily mean the president was found guilty or that the case will be reinstated. We’re still waiting for the verdict. In the meantime, I will stand by my president,” Mokoena said.
Conversely, Lesedi from Bergman Square said as much as she was a card carrying member of the ANC, she wanted Zuma to face all the charges so that he could clear his name once and for all.
“It would be best if he clears his name in court. The charges are far greater, so we want him to have his day in court,” she said.
The hearing that was initially set aside for two days in order to hear the legal team’s oral representations, was wrapped up by lunch time yesterday.
Justice Azhar Cachalia throughout proceedings kept on reminding Epstein of the court’s previous ruling that the motive behind bringing the charges does not contradict the merits of the charges.
The questions why there was no affidavit from Mpshe included in the NPA’s arguments to prove that he did apply his mind when making his decision in 2009 was also highlighted.
In 2009, following Zuma’s victory at the party polls, Mpshe withdrew 783 charges linked to the multibillion-rand 1999 arms deal.
The DA then challenged the matter in court.
In May 2016, the North Gauteng High Court ordered that Zuma had to face all the charges. Zuma then took the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Yesterday, legal representatives for the NPA and Zuma tried their best to persuade the court to allow the appeal.
The NPA said it accepted that Mpshe could not rely upon section 179 of the Constitution, as he earlier declared, as this section did not allow the NPA to review its own decisions.
Zuma’s counsel, advocate Kemp J Kemp, conceded that a decision to withdraw charges was based solely on the timing of the indictment,
Arguments around what was to happen with regards to the legal proceedings against Zuma dominated the rest of proceedings.
COURT PROCEEDINGS: Justice Azhar Cachalia kept on reminding the NPA of the Supreme Court of Appeal’s previous ruling that the motive for bringing the charges did not contradict the merits of the charges during proceedings in the Bloemfontein court where judgment was reserved in the President Jacob Zuma spy tapes appeal case.