National 22.8.2016 07:05 am

Zuma could halt reinstatement of corruption charges

FILE PICTURE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture:

FILE PICTURE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture:

That’s if Zuma uses his claims of a political conspiracy against him, though not a strong argument, according to an expert.

Despite a weak argument, President Jacob Zuma has a 50-50 chance of halting the corruption charges against him from being reinstated, according to constitutional expert Shadrack Gutto.

The DA yesterday announced it had filed its answering affidavit with the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) against Zuma’s bid to appeal the recent North Gauteng High Court judgment that in effect reinstated the 783 corruption-related charges withdrawn by former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Mokotedi Mpshe.

Zuma argued that it was a breach of the Separation of Powers doctrine for a court to determine whether a prosecution should be discontinued or not, as this prerogative vests with the NPA.

But the high court judgment stated it was not ruling on a general principle that a court of law should determine whether a prosecution should be discontinued or not, but rather, in the circumstances, the complaint of an abuse of process should be determined by a court in an open and transparent manner and not behind closed doors and in secret – as was done by Mpshe.

“I think so far the high court indicated that it was irrational on the part of the head of the NPA to drop those charges and it is up to the Constitutional Court to decide whether it was rational or not,” said Gutto.

“I would say that on the argument of separation of powers, Zuma has very little chance of convincing the court. That is challenging the role of the courts in this constitutional democracy and I don’t think that can be won. It has no base at all.”

But the professor said Zuma’s claims of a political conspiracy against him, though not a strong argument, had the best chance of convincing the court of his grounds to appeal. Arguing on the point of political interference in the NPA was a better argument than questioning the role of the court.

“On the other argument of whether there was fear or favour, that is the question for judges weighing the circumstances and the context of the decision made.”

 

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