DA’s Zuma court battle set to go ahead

2012-04-12 15:23

The Democratic Alliance’s battle to ensure that President Jacob Zuma has his day in court is set to go ahead.

Neither the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) nor Zuma will challenge an initial ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in the DA’s legal challenge of the decision to drop corruption charges against Zuma.

Mac Maharaj, Zuma’s spokesperson, today confirmed that Zuma would “not be appealing because it is only a preliminary matter”.

The NPA said in a statement it was working on preparing the reduced record used by Mokotedi Mpshe, then acting national director of public prosecutions, in deciding to drop charges against Zuma in 2009.

It means the matter will now be referred back to the North Gauteng High Court for the main challenge to be heard.

This follows an SCA ruling last month which found that a political party such as the Democratic Alliance could challenge a decision taken by the director of public prosecutions under the principle of the rule of law.

The court ordered the NPA to file a “reduced record”, which would include all relevant information used by Mpshe in making the decision, but would exclude protected submissions made by Zuma to the NPA.

Zuma made these submissions when he had been charged with corruption in relation to his relationship with his former financial advisor, Schabir Shaik.

James Selfe, chairperson of the DA’s Federal Executive, said that the DA would now study the contents of the reduced record.

“Depending on the nature of the documentation we receive, we will brief our legal team to proceed with the substantive review of (Mpshe’s) decision,” said Selfe.

The future of the case depends on the contents of the reduced record.

In the SCA’s judgment, Judge Mahomed Navsa noted that if the “reduced record provides an incomplete picture it might well have the effect of the NDPP being at risk of not being able to justify the decision”.

“On the other hand, a reduced record might redound to the benefit of the NDPP and Mr Zuma,” said Navsa.

It is unclear whether the full content of Zuma’s so-called “spy tapes” will form part of this record.

This is a reference to recordings of conversations between then NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka and Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy, which pointed to an alleged political conspiracy against the president.

When Mpshe made the decision in 2009, transcripts of the relevant portions of the tapes were released to the media, but never their full contents.

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