Former president Thabo Mbeki has sought to clarify a conspiracy that he and other government officials were part of an agenda to falsely get President Jacob Zuma criminally charged.
In one of his weekly letters titled: “A tale of political conspiracy and incomprehensible judicial imaginings”, Mbeki dismisses the conspiracy.
The letter is about the judgment made by Judge Chris Nicholson of the High Court of South Africa on September 12, 2008 in a case between the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and now President of the country Jacob Zuma.
Judge Nicholson granted that the NPA’s decision to prosecute Zuma was invalid and should be set aside.
“It is declared that the decision taken by the National Prosecuting Authority during or about December 28, 2007 to prosecute the applicant (Jacob Zuma), a copy of which is annexed to the applicant’s founding affidavit as annexure ‘A’ thereto, is invalid and is set aside,” said Judge Nicholson.
“This celebration of the Nicholson judgment by Nzimande, Munusamy and others was occasioned by both his ruling that the NPA attempt to re-institute charges against President of the ANC, Jacob Zuma, was invalid and the conclusion he reached that the NPA actions were driven by political interventions hostile to President Zuma,” wrote Mbeki.
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“Thus did Judge Nicholson give a judicial stamp of approval to an allegation that some had sustained for some time that I and others in government were part of a “political conspiracy” which had interfered with the NPA falsely to charge Jacob Zuma, an allegation which even the ANC NEC as a whole had rejected,” writes Mbeki.
However, tables turned when the NPA decided to appeal Judge Nicholson’s judgment in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA). The move by the NPA saw some members of the ANC and its alliance partners coming out guns blazing, condemning the prosecuting authority.
ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe reportedly said: “The biggest worry for us is the question of the reversal of the possible closure of that chapter (Zuma’s prosecution). That case (the appeal), in our view, is not in the public or national interest. If the case is pursued, it will continue to be a point of division in the ANC. That’s the main issue.”
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Then KZN Cosatu secretary Zet Luzipho reportedly said: “The fact that NPA wants to continue the case… is a declaration of war on our people.”
Despite all these threats, the SCA continued with the case and made strong and negative remarks about Nicholson’s comments about the so called “political meddling”, saying: “As the trial judge (Nicholson) recognised, ‘political meddling’ was not an issue that had to be determined.
“The court below failed to adhere to some basic tenets, in particular that in exercising the judicial function, judges are themselves constrained by the law… This… was unfortunately subverted by a failure to confine the judgment to the issues before the court; by deciding matters that were not germane or relevant; by creating new factual issues; by making gratuitous findings against persons who were not called upon to defend themselves; by failing to distinguish between allegation, fact and suspicion; and by transgressing the proper boundaries between judicial, executive and legislative functions,” the SCA further stated.
To further prove his point, Mbeki alluded to how now EFF leader Julius Malema and expelled Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi, who were in support of Zuma at the time, came out to apologise to him.
In 2014, Malema said: “We are in a mess because we did not listen to the silent communication from President Mbeki. As this generation we owe it to many generations to come by ensuring that the mistake we committed in Polokwane in 2007 and in South Africa in 2009 is corrected.”
Read the full letter below: