DA: 1 – Zuma: 0

2012-03-20 09:09

The decision to drop corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma can be challenged by the Democratic Alliance in court.

This was the unanimous finding of a Supreme Court of Appeal decision handed down by the court today.

The DA had taken the NPA and Zuma to court over the decision by acting national director of public prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe to drop corruption charges against Zuma in 2009, shortly before he became president of the country.

Last year, the North Gauteng High Court found that a political party such as the DA did not have the standing, or right, to bring such a case before the court.

But the SCA yesterday ruled that a decision to discontinue a prosecution was subject to review under the principle of the rule of law, contained in the Bill of Rights.

In a unanimous decision written by Judge Mahomed Navsa, the court emphasised that the exercise of public power was limited in a constitutional democracy, and that the courts had the power to regulate the exercise of public power.

“[The rule of law] is a concept that we, as a nation, must cherish, nurture and protect. We must be intent on ensuring that it is ingrained in the national psyche.

“It is our best guarantee against tyranny, now and in the future,” the court found.

The court found that it was of “fundamental importance” that the NPA acts in a manner consistent with Constitutional prescripts.

It also found that a political party like the DA had the right to challenge the decision, because it has an interest in ensuring that public power is exercised in accordance with the Constitution.

The SCA also ordered the NPA to lodge a record of the material used by Mpshe in coming to the decision to drop charges against Zuma.

This record will exclude any protected submission made by Zuma.

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