The North Gauteng High Court ruled on Friday that a decision to drop 783 corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma should be reviewed.
The court found that the former National Prosecuting Authority chief, Mokotedi Mpshe, acted impulsively and irrationally when he decided to drop the charges of corruption laid against president Jacob Zuma in 2009.
The court ruled that the NPA should review its decision and set it aside, saying that Zuma should face the charges as set out on the indictment in which the president was facing 783 charges of corruption.
The African National Congress (ANC) said in a statement: “It is important to note that the Court did not deal with the merits of any allegations against President Zuma nor did it make any finding declaring guilt on any matter against President Zuma.
“Today’s judgment was solely a judicial review of an administrative action taken by the NPA as allowed for in our law. We trust that it shall therefore not be used by any in our society to infer any culpability in any crime or offence by the President.”
The ANC said it has consistently supported the legal maxim that justice delayed is justice denied. “This matter has dragged on for close to a decade and the ANC is pleased therefore that it now appears closer to resolution, seven years since the NPA decision,” the ruling party said.
“We once again reaffirm our full confidence in our legal system with its adequate and extensive checks and balances designed to protect and promote accountability and transparency.”
President Jacob Zuma must get what he always wanted, his day in court, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Friday.
The party welcomed the judgment and said it was significant as it meant that the NPA’s decisions could not be inconsistent with law.
“Ultimately we’ve always maintained that the decision to drop charges against Jacob Zuma was irrational and should not have been discontinued,” Maimane told reporters outside the court.
“Those charges must be continued and Jacob Zuma must have what he always wanted, his day in court, and therefore today I think is not only a victory for the rule of law and the Constitution of the republic.
“It’s also a victory for us as a political party in the pursuit of accountability and rule of law in South Africa.”
He said it was immaterial whether the charges were reinstated while Zuma was still in office.
“We want to continue this process and we will go the full length. We want Jacob Zuma to come to court and account for the charges.”
The charges relate to Zuma’s alleged involvement in the country’s multi-billion rand arms deal.
Zuma’s former financial adviser Schabir Schaik was found guilty of fraud and corruption by the Durban High Court in June 2005.
He tried to solicit a bribe for Zuma from a French arms company involved in the deal.