Zuma loses bid to appeal corruption ruling

President Jacob Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority’s bid to appeal the High Court ruling that the president should face corruption charges has been dismissed, with costs.

Judege Ledwaba said that leave to appeal may only be given if the court felt that the appeal will have reasonable prospects of success.

“We conclude there are no merits,” the judge said.

The High Court said there are no questions of law in the case that need to be settled by Supreme Court of Appeal.

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The charges against the president were then withdrawn in the High Court in Durban on April 7, 2009.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

The president and the NPA can now petition the Appeal Court to challenge the ruling, but the prospects for success in this route are minimal, analysts say.

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Zuma loses bid to appeal corruption ruling