South Africa 14.9.2017 05:20 am

Spy tapes case not easy for Zuma to win, expert says

President Jacob Zuma addressing the media at the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Services Prison during the 40th anniversary of the death of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, 12 September 2017, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

President Jacob Zuma addressing the media at the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Services Prison during the 40th anniversary of the death of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, 12 September 2017, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The High Court ruled last year the NPA’s decision to withdraw the 2009 prosecution case against Zuma for charges related to corruption was ‘irrational’.

Legal teams for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and President Jacob Zuma will have a tough time convincing the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) today to overturn a high court ruling relating to the “spy tapes” saga.

“The NPA’s argument must be particularly solid in the law and the facts,”said legal expert William Booth. Their lawyers must show the SCA that the high court’s ruling must be set aside due to there being errors in law and the facts, he added.

“They must show the court had misdirected itself and committed an irregularity based on the facts. You will have to do a good job in convincing the judges.”

The SCA rarely grants an overturned ruling, said Booth. In an application brought by the Democratic Alliance, the High Court in Johannesburg ruled last year the NPA’s decision to withdraw the 2009 prosecution case against Zuma for charges related to fraud, racketeering and corruption was irrational, should be reviewed and set aside.

The decision was made by then NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe. In his conclusion, Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba ruled that: “Having regard to the conspectus of the evidence before us we find that Mr Mpshe found himself under pressure and decided to discontinue the prosecution of Mr Zuma, and consequently made an irrational decision.”

Considering the situation Mpshe found himself in, he “ignored the importance of the oath of office which demanded of him to act independently and without fear or favour”.

According to Ledwaba, Zuma should face the charges as outlined in the indictment. For the NPA to succeed in its appeal, their argument must be particularly solid in law and facts, Booth said.

But should the NPA fail in their SCA appeal and the charges are reinstated, that does not necessarily mean Zuma will be convicted, said Booth. – yadhanaj@citizen.co.za

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