President Jacob Zuma has made an 11th-hour concession that the decision to withdraw the more than 700 corruption charges against him was irrational.
The decision was taken in 2009 by then NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe.
Kemp J Kemp for Zuma made the concession in the Supreme Court of Appeal on Thursday but said his client wanted the opportunity to make fresh representations to the National Director of Public Prosecutions.
This would mean that current National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams could then make a new decision on whether the trial should go ahead.
The NPA and Zuma approached the Supreme Court of Appeal for leave to appeal the decision by the High Court in Pretoria which ordered that the corruption charges be reinstated.
Justice Eric Leach‚ after Kemp’s argument‚ questioned why Zuma had come to the court to apply for leave to appeal‚ only to concede that the decision to withdraw the charges was irrational.
This was something the High Court had already found.
Judgment in the Supreme Court of Appeal matter was reserved on Thursday.
The Supreme Court of Appeal had earlier questioned whether the timing of the serving of an indictment on Jacob Zuma in any way undermined the decision to prosecute him.
Mpshe himself had conceded that there was no interference with the prosecutorial process and that Zuma would have received fair trial.
Hilton Epstein for the NPA argued that there was political interference from Scorpions boss at the time Leonard McCarthy‚ who delayed the serving of the indictment until after the ANC’s Polokwane conference‚ because he wanted Thabo Mbeki to be re-elected president.
Epstein argued that McCarthy did not want the indictment served before the conference because it would lead to people rallying behind Zuma.
Zuma and the NPA have approached the SCA in a bid to appeal against an order by the High Court in Pretoria that the corruption charges be reinstated.
The DA wants the SCA to dismiss this application‚ saying in its heads of argument that their arguments were “void of any merit”.
SCA judges did not seem to be satisfied with this argument. Judge Azhar Cachalia said Mpshe’s decision to drop the charges indicated that either “he was a man operating without knowing what he is doing” or he did not apply his mind.
Judge Mahomed Navsa said “it was not the decision to prosecute that was contaminated”.
He said the motive for prosecution was irrelevant provided that there was a case.
Questions were also raised about contradictory affidavits made between 2009 and now on who actually made the decision to charge Zuma.
Source: TMG Digital.