NewsSouthern AfricaSouth Africa's prosecutor say Zuma's case must be challenged


Posted on Monday, 23 May 2016 12:38

South Africa's prosecutor say Zuma's case must be challenged

By Crystal Orderson in Cape Town

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma. Photo©Themba Hadebe/AP/SIPASouth Africa's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says it will appeal a High Court decision settings aside the withdrawal of a number of corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma.

The charges were dropped before the 2009 elections, but a High Court judge ruled they may be reinstated. The NPA's lawyer, Advocate Shaun Abrahams said "my decision has been made and after consulting senior members and obtaining legal advice from senior counsel".

Zuma must get what he always wanted and that is to get his day in court

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

To understand the case, one has to go back a few years to April 2009 when Mpshe said transcripts of telephone conversations between then crack investigative unit, Scorpions boss, Leonard McCarthy and former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka, showed political interference in the decision to charge Zuma.

The charges were withdrawn in the High Court in Durban on April 7, 2009, paving the way for Zuma to become president. But South Africa's main opposition party, Democratic Alliance (DA), 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, firstly, 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. "Judgement affects the separation of powers and important matter of principle and it needs the decision of the Appeals Court," Abrahams said at a media briefing.

Abrahams said his office was the best place to make the decision to weigh serious abuse of power.

DA leader, Mmusi Maimane said he was not surprised by Abrahams' decision and the party has always maintained that he was a Zuma "deployee and would only act in defence of the president".

"I will also be joining the application to ensure that the appeal is unsuccessful. Zuma must get what he always wanted and that is to get his day in court," Maimane said.

He said the DA has always maintained that the "law has made it clear there was a prima facie case that Zuma has a case to answer. Why is it that Zuma does not want to fulfil this?"

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