Zuma expected to appeal corruption charges

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and President Jacob Zuma’s lawyers are expected to put in their application for leave to appeal the High Court’s ruling on the president’s corruption charges today.

In late April 2016, the full bench of the High Court in Pretoria ruled that Zuma should face the 783 charges of corruption. The court ruled that the decision to discontinue the prosecution against the president should be reviewed and set aside.

Following the ruling, the NPA announced that it would move to appeal the ruling on several grounds – primarily that the ruling brought into question the independence of the NPA, and the implications for other cases handled by the authority.

The NPA is expected to argue that it is the only authority that should be able to decide whether or not to withdraw charges against someone.

The president’s team will be fighting the ruling on the basis that the court erred in saying that the decision to drop the charged were irrational.

On April 6, 2009, former NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe said transcripts of telephone conversations between then-Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka, showed political interference in the decision to charge Zuma.

The charges against the president were then withdrawn in the High Court in Durban on April 7, 2009.

The NPA cited six grounds for its appeal:

  • That the court erred in finding that Mpshe had acted irrationally by not referring the complaint of abuse of process and the related allegations against McCarthy to court;
  • There was a transgression of the separation of powers;
  • That Mpshe did consider the merits of the case;
  • The NPA process was abused for political reasons;
  • That Mpshe, as acting NDPP, had the power to discontinue the prosecution; and
  • That the court failed to appreciate the true reason for McCarthy and Ngcuka delaying serving the indictment on Zuma.

Former NPA head Vusi Pikoli has said that the chances of success fr the appeal are slim, while law experts say that there is no way that appeal should even be allowed to proceed.

Friday, 10 June is the deadline for the parties to apply for leave to appeal the ruling.

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Zuma expected to appeal corruption charges