NewsSouthern AfricaSouth African president Zuma's appeal denied


Posted on Friday, 24 June 2016 15:42

South African president Zuma's appeal denied

By Crystal Orderson in Cape Town

President Jacob Zuma. Photo©Themba Hadebe/AP/SIPASouth African President Jacob Zuma's efforts to avoid trial on corruption charges have once again failed after a court dismissed an appeal to have the charges withdrawn.

The Pretoria High court on Friday denied Zuma leave to appeal, saying he should face corruption charges.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and Zuma's lawyers wanted leave to appeal the court's April 29 ruling that the decision to halt the prosecution against the president on 783 corruption charges should be reviewed and set aside.

The setting-aside of withdrawal of criminal charges has the effect that the charges are automatically reinstated

Constitutional law expert, Pierre de Vos said the "withdrawal of charges against Zuma was not an acquittal; such withdrawal does not nullify the decision to prosecute".

"The setting-aside of withdrawal of criminal charges has the effect that the charges are automatically reinstated," he said.

In April, a full bench of the Pretoria High Court ruled that it was irrational for the then NPA boss, Mokotedi Mpshe to drop charges against Zuma and that the president should face the 783 charges of corruption.

In April 2009, Mpshe said transcripts of telephone conversations between then police unit, Scorpions' boss, Leonard McCarthy and former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka, showed political interference in the decision to charge Zuma.

The charges were later withdrawn in the High Court in Durban. The move paved the way for Zuma to become South African president. But the opposition, Democratic Alliance was not having any of it and fought a long court battle to have the charges reinstated.

The DA fought a seven-year battle to first gain access to the so-called "spy tapes" and then take the case to court. The court ruled that the decision to discontinue the prosecution against Zuma should be reviewed and set aside.

The DA's James Selfe welcomed the ruling and said Zuma can now finally have his day in court. "The (783) charges are in fact automatically reinstated and the NPA must give Zuma a date by which he is to appear in court," he said in a statement following the judgement.

But it seems Zuma still has some options left. He could decide to petition the Supreme Court of Appeal or even the Constitutional Court directly, but they would have to show new legal grounds to justify the appeal, according to legal experts.

There's been no reaction from the presidency yet, with the president's spokesperson, Bongani Ngqulunga saying they would issue a statement later.

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