The Pretoria High Court will on Friday, deliver a judgment on whether the decision to drop corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma and the controversial spy tapes, six years ago, was lawful.
The court’s judgement would be one of the prominent cases President Zuma would be finding himself in within a short space of time. Not long after the constitutional court delivered its judgement against the president demanding him to pay up the fund used for his Nkandla development, more pressure might mount on him on Friday as court reopens the charges laid against him in the past six years.
ANC’s strongest party opposition, the DA, requested the court to put aside the decision by acting prosecutions head Mokotedi Mpshe to drop charges against the president in 2009 and revisit the controversial “spy tapes” — recordings of phone conversations between Scorpions head Leonard McCarthy and former prosecutions head Bulelani Ngcuka.
By reopening this, the question of whether charges should be brought against the president will be raised as it would force the National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams to re-take the decision.
Mr Mpshe was said to have dropped the case based on evidence from the “spy tape” that the timing of the indictment against Mr Zuma had been manipulated to influence the outcome of the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) elective conference in Polokwane.
To this, the DA argued in court that Mr Mpshe’s decision was irrational and that there were no evidence that the manipulation of the timing of the prosecution was prejudicial to Mr Zuma neither had the manipulation tainted the evidence against the president or detract from the strength of the case against him.
However, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the president’s lawyers argued that the DA was underplaying the seriousness of what had happened.
“Prosecutors were supposed to be above reproach. Instead, Mr McCarthy had manipulated the prosecution to serve a political agenda. While the court could disagree with Mr Mpshe’s decision, this did not make it irrational, they argued.
According to Businessdaylive, the DA’s James Selfe said whoever lost this round was “bound to appeal” — ultimately to the Constitutional Court.
“The spy tapes saga was already seven years old, and “the finalization of any appeals process will no doubt take a few years more,” he said adding that this was no doubt necessary as it would be a reminder to the president, the NPA and south Africans that every decision to prosecute or not to prosecute “must be made without fear or favour, and that even number one is not above the law”.