I stand by my pres­i­dent – sup­port­ers

The New Age (Gauteng) - - FRONT PAGE - MICHAEL TLHAKUDI

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 for­mer Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions Mokotedi Mp­she’s de­ci­sion to with­draw crim­i­nal charges against him was 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. 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 was wrapped up by lunch time yes­ter­day.

Jus­tice Azhar Cachalia through­out pro­ceed­ings re­minded Ep­stein of the court’s pre­vi­ous rul­ing that the mo­tive for bring­ing the charges does not con­tra­dict the mer­its of the charges.

The ques­tion 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.

Jus­tice Azhar Cachalia.

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