In 2003, African National Congress (ANC)‘s former president, Thabo Mbeki offered Jacob Zuma millions requesting that he resign following an announcement by former NPA head, Bulelani Ngcuka that there was a provable legal case against Zuma.
This was revealed in papers filed last week by Zuma’s lawyer, Micheal Hulley which was published by the Mail & Guardian.
“It is correct that Mbeki asked Zuma to resign prior to the Ngcuka announcement in 2003,” Hulley said in the documents. This was a request purportedly based on a huge case [volumes of data] against him [Zuma]. If Zuma left quietly, he would not be prosecuted and he would be well looked after financially [a R20m amount was mooted].”
According to the lawyer, Zuma, refused to resign and therefore informed Mbeki and the former minister of justice, Penuell Maduna, that his understanding was that there was no case against him.
Hulley added that Mbeki went further to urge Zuma to resign in 2005 to avoid being arraigned in court. “I simply point out that Mbeki again asked Zuma to resign in June 2005. He (Zuma) again refused and Mbeki dismissed him in Parliament stating Zuma is to still have his day in court,” he said.
The opposition party also contended that Mokotedi Mpshe’s April 2009 decision should be set aside because the tapes which contained recorded phone conversations, justify proceeding with a review application of the decision to drop the charges against Zuma.
The papers that were filed at the High Court in Pretoria were Zuma’s response to the DA’s call to have the arms deal corruption charges against him reinstated.
The DA brought the application to have the case reviewed after it was handed the so-called “spy tapes” case in 2014. Hulley however said the DA’s application was “defective and merit-less”.
It was alleged that the tapes revealed the collusion between the former head of the directorate of special operations – the now defunct Scorpions – Leonard McCarthy and Ngcuka, to manipulate the prosecution of Zuma before the ANC’s Polokwane conference in 2007.
The charges related to Zuma’s allegedly receiving a bribe from French arms company Thales via his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik, who was jailed for corruption. He was released on medical parole in 2009.
Meanwhile, Mpshe claimed that the tapes revealed a political conspiracy against Zuma, and so the case could not continue. Hulley said the case that the DA was attempting to pursue was fatally and deeply flawed.
“The first fundamental flaw is that it is nowhere stated by the NDPP that he relied solely on the contents of the tapes. Indeed, that is not what the public announcement [April 6 2009] says,” Hulley said in the 166 page document.
“It records that the Mpshe decision  was premised on the Zuma representations which made serious allegations about the prosecution’s conduct of the case. This much also appears from the NPA’s decision and its answer.
“Thus reference is particularly made to the NPA’s answer which touches on issues such as press leakages, the browse mole operation, and the November/December abuse of process and related delay issues.”
Zuma was however elected ANC president at the Polokwane conference in 2007. Mbeki remained a contender for a second term whose contest for the top position caused rifts in the party.
The Scorpions were also subsequently disbanded and the corruption charges were dropped shortly before Zuma was sworn in as president in 2009.
The DA, however, contended that Mpshe could not have rationally concluded that McCarthy manipulated the timing of the service of the indictment to suit Mbeki, since the evidence indicates that Mpshe made the decision to delay the service of the indictment himself. The party says McCarthy played no material role.