President Jacob Zuma’s lawyers and that of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) are expected to appear in court today to apply for leave to appeal the High Court’s ruling on the president’s corruption charges.
The NPA is expected to tell judges in Pretoria that their decision to dig up corruption charges against the president speaks more about issues surrounding the NPA’s independence and that the Supreme Court of Appeal must now decide whether a court can overrule the NPA in the case.
The high court had in April in Pretoria ruled that president Zuma should face the 783 charges of corruption and that the decision to discontinue the prosecution against the president should be reviewed and set aside.
Following this court rulings, the NPA announced that it would move to appeal the ruling on several grounds one of which is that the ruling brought into question the independence of the NPA, and the implications for other cases handled by the authority.
NPA head Shaun Abrahams said that the court’s affects the legally protected discretion of prosecutors, to decide whether to prosecute or not. He believes the National Director of Pubic Prosecutions is best placed make these decisions, not the courts.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) who first called for the re-opening of this case in court, could still defend its course for Zuma to face the corruption charges laid on him after his financial advisor Schabir Shaik was jailed for corruption for payments he made to him.
The six grounds for appeal as cited by NPA include:
- 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.
Zuma’s lawyers are likely to attack the court’s finding that Mpshe was acting out of emotion when he decided to withdraw the charges against him, because he felt betrayed by the conduct of other NPA officials.