Zuma withdraws Simelane appeal bid

2011-12-28 16:01

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma has withdrawn his bid to appeal the court ruling that set aside his appointment of Menzi Simelane as national director of public prosecutions.

The about-turn came after the president, the justice ministry and Simelane filed papers to the Constitutional Court last Thursday challenging the Supreme Court of Appeal's finding that his appointment was unconstitutional.

In a letter dated Friday December 23 and of which Sapa has a copy, the state attorney informed the Constitutional Court that Zuma "withdraws an application for appeal".

He added that the president was also withdrawing an application to oppose the Democratic Alliance's application to the court to confirm the appeal court ruling.

In terms of section 167 (5) of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court has to confirm any ruling declaring legislation or an act of the president unconstitutional.

Constitutional law experts have pointed out that the matter was therefore heading for automatic review and questioned the ability of the government to lodge an appeal.

The appeal court on December 1 found in a unanimous and emphatic judgment that Zuma had failed to consider Simelane's appointment two years ago properly.

The DA on Wednesday welcomed Zuma's decision not to seek to appeal and said the change of heart signalled he has decided to replace Simelane.

"The fact that the president is withdrawing his appeal means in effect that he will abide by the decision of the SCA," said James Selfe, the chairperson of the party's federal executive.

"This must mean that he has decided to appoint someone else in this position. If this interpretation is correct, we trust that he will choose someone of unimpeachable character and proven experience."

Read more on:    da  |  jacob ­zuma  |  menzi simelane  |  james selfe

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