April 15 D-day for Zuma to oppose corruption charges review

FILE PICTURE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Ntswe Mokoena, DoC

FILE PICTURE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Ntswe Mokoena, DoC

President Jacob Zuma has until April 15 to file papers to oppose the Democratic Alliance’s application for the review of the dropping of corruption charges against him. An agreement between the DA and the National Prosecuting Authority about the time frame for the filing of court papers in the application was on Sunday confirmed by Judge Neil Tuchten in the High Court in Pretoria.

In terms of the agreement, the NPA has until March 31 to file opposing papers and Zuma until April 15. All court papers have to be filed by June 10. However, Judge Tuchten refused to grant an order that the parties may seek an expedited court date for the hearing.

He said on the papers before him he saw no reason for an expedited date and the parties would have to approach the Deputy Judge President and present an argument about this. The case was initially set down on the unopposed roll after the NPA and Zuma consistently failed to file opposing papers. It was moved to the opposed roll after the NPA indicated that it would oppose the application.

The infamous spy tapes, on which the NPA based its decision not to prosecute Zuma, were handed to the DA last year after the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled the NPA had to comply with an earlier High Court order to release the tapes. In terms of the court order, the recordings, internal memoranda, reports and minutes of meetings dealing with the contents of the recordings had to be provided to the DA.

The NPA alleged the recorded telephone conversations revealed collusion between the former head of the now defunct Scorpions Leonard McCarthy and the NPA’s former head Bulelani Ngcuka to manipulate the process to charge Zuma before the ANC’s 2007 congress in Polokwane. The charges were withdrawn shortly before Zuma became president in 2009.

The acting head of the NPA at the time, Mokotedi Mpshe, said the tapes showed there was a political conspiracy against Zuma.

The DA’s Marius Redelinghuys said if the NPA or President Zuma did not abide by the dates, they would be in contempt of court.

“This is a very positive development for us because we have been ducking and diving in court back and forth with the President and the NPA delaying every single step of the way since 2009,” he said.

DA leader Helen Zille earlier insisted there was sufficient evidence on the spy tapes for a review of the decision not to charge Zuma with 16 charges including racketeering, money-laundering, corruption and fraud.

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