The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein is expected to hand down judgment in the appeal by President Jacob Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the spy tapes saga.
Zuma and the NPA asked for leave to appeal a judgement of the Gauteng North High Court last year, which ruled in favour of the Democratic Alliance (DA), setting aside the 2009 decision by the NPA’s former Director of Public Prosecution Mokotedi Mpshe to discontinue the corruption case against Zuma, on the basis of irrationality.
Shortly before the 2009 polls, after Zuma had won the contest for the leadership of the ruling African National Congress, Mpshe, withdrew 783 charges linked to the multi-million rand 1999 arms deal.
Since then, the DA has challenged the matter in court. In May last year, the North Gauteng High Court ordered that Zuma must face all the charges.
Zuma took the matter to the SCA, and the application was heard by a full bench of appeal judges.
On September 14, the SCA reserved judgment after Zuma’s lawyers admitted that the quashing of hundreds of criminal charges against him was “irrational”. Legal representatives for the NPA and Zuma were at pains as they tried to persuade the court to allow the appeal.
Initially two days had been set aside to hear legal team’s oral representations, but by lunchtime they had wrapped up the matter. But not before the NPA’s legal counsel conceded that Mphse had “used the wrong power” to withdraw charges against Zuma.
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 prosecuting authority to review its own decisions.
Advocate Kemp J. Kemp, counsel for Zuma, made the same concession. He also conceded that a decision to withdraw charges, that was based solely on the timing of the indictment, was irrational.
Arguments around what was to happen with regards to the legal proceedings against Zuma, dominated the rest of proceedings, before judgment was reserved.