The High Court in Pretoria erred in April when it ruled that President Jacob Zuma should face the charges outlined in a 2009 indictment, the NPA argued on Friday.
“With respect, the court went too far in saying that he should face charges in the indictment,” the National Prosecuting Authority’s lawyer Hilton Epstein told Judge Aubrey Ledwaba.
Epstein explained that once the corruption case against Zuma was struck off the roll in 2009, it was up to the National Director of Public Prosecutions to decide which charges it wished to reinstate or drop.
The NPA and President Jacob Zuma’s lawyers are applying for leave to appeal the court’s ruling that the 783 corruption charges against Zuma be reinstated.
On April 29, after a seven-year battle by the DA, the court ruled that the decision to discontinue the prosecution against Zuma should be reviewed and set aside. At the time, Ledwaba said then-NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe acted irrationally after coming under pressure.
On April 6, 2009, 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The charges were withdrawn in the High Court in Durban on April 7, 2009.
Epstein said the NPA’s appeal had a reasonable prospect of success. He argued that Mpshe would have acted in bad faith if he had continued the prosecution, knowing there had been an abuse of the prosecution process.
He said Mpshe had the right to change his mind after having received information which compelled him to overturn his decision to prosecute.
“What is established here is that the decision that he took was based on untested allegations,” Ledwaba said.