Zille hails SCA judgement

By Drum Digital
20 March 2012

DA leader Helen Zille has hailed a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling giving her party access to the records that led to the suspension, in 2009, of criminal charges against President Jacob Zuma.

"The judgment held that the NPA must make available the requested record of decision it used when then acting national director of public prosecutions, Mokotedi Mpshe, made the decision to drop charges against Jacob Zuma," she told reproters at Parliament on Tuesday.

The Democratic Alliance is seeking a review of the decision, by Mpshe, to drop charges against Zuma before he was elected president.

Zille said the SCA had ruled that the National Prosecuting Authority would be obliged to make available whatever was before Mpshe when he made that decision.

The importance of such evidence to the outcome of her party's review application could not be overstated.

"The record of decision will shed light on whether Mokotedi Mpshe made the decision to withdraw the prosecution on rational, legal grounds, or whether he made the decision based on political considerations," Zille said.

The SCA judgment had also affirmed that a decision to discontinue a prosecution was reviewable by the courts, and that the Democratic Alliance, as a political party, had the legal standing to bring such a review application.

Responding to a question on how she thought the matter would now move forward, she suggested that "the longest route of delay would be followed" by Zuma and his legal team.

Corruption charges had "hung over" Zuma long before he was elected president of the African National Congress.

"South African's have a right to know what the defence is to those allegations, and whether there is substance in them or not -- after all, he is now the president of this country."

However, the president and his legal team had "dragged this particular case... through every single nook and cranny of filibustering, delaying and obfuscation, to avoid it ever coming to court".

She expected Zuma and the NPA would now "use every legal trick in the book to delay, stall and sidetrack proceedings, in an attempt to win time for Jacob Zuma to serve two terms as president".

The presidency said in a statement earlier on Tuesday, that it had noted the SCA's judgment.

"We wish to emphasise that the decision taken by the acting national director of public prosecution on April 6, 2009, not to prosecute President Jacob Zuma, stands."

The SCA, in its judgment, had explicitly stated that the "appeal does not concern the merits of a decision taken... by the acting NDPP to discontinue a prosecution ... against Mr Jacob Zuma'', the presidency said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the SCA ruled that Mpshe should hand over the record of proceedings to the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Appeal within 14 days.

The record should, however, exclude written representations made on behalf of Zuma and any consequent memoranda or reports prepared in response, or oral representations, if their production would breach confidentiality agreements.

The SCA further held that the record should consist of the documents and material relevant to the review, including those before Mpshe when he made his decision.

NPA spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said on Tuesday the authority would study the judgment to determine the next legal steps.

"We wish to state that we still stand by advocate Mpshe's decision and remind all that these were preliminary issues with no direct impact on his decision not to prosecute."

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