Zuma record decision 'in public interest'

2012-03-20 14:22

Bloemfontein - The Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a bid by the DA on Tuesday for access to the records that led to the suspension of criminal charges against President Jacob Zuma in 2009.

The Democratic Alliance wants a review of the decision, by then acting National Director of Public Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe, to drop charges against Zuma before he was elected president.

The DA had called on the National Prosecuting Authority to produce the record of proceedings that led to the decision.

The court held that Mpshe's decision on April 6 2009, to discontinue the prosecution of Zuma on corruption charges, would be subject to review. In a unanimous judgment by a full Bench, the SCA found the exercise of public power was regulated by the courts through judicial review.

All equal before the law

Delivering judgment, Judge Mahomed Navsa said that in a constitutional state there were, by definition, legal limits to power, and the courts were bestowed with the authority to determine the legality of various activities. These included those of public authorities.

"In fulfilling the constitutional duty of testing the exercise of public power against the Constitution, courts are protecting the very essence of a constitutional democracy," he said.

This meant the arms of government, every citizen, an institution or other recognised legal entity, were all bound by and were equal before the law.

"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 SCA held that Mpshe and Zuma had accepted in argument that the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) exercised public power and that the decision to discontinue a prosecution was subject to a rule of law review.

In light of this acknowledgement it was difficult to understand why the NDPP persisted in pursuing the appeal on this aspect. This did not reflect well on the NDPP’s office.

The SCA ruled that Mpshe should hand over the record on which his decision was based, to the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Appeal within 14 days.

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

Public interest

On the issue of the DA’s legal standing to bring the matter to court, the SCA held that all political parties in Parliament must necessarily have an interest in ensuring public power was exercised constitutionally and legally.

The judgment held that it was in the public interest and of direct concern to political parties participating in Parliament that an institution such as the NPA acted in accordance with constitutional and legal laws.

"It is of fundamental importance to our democracy that an institution such as the NPA, which is integral to the rule of law, acts in a manner consistent with constitutional prescripts and within its powers."

Navsa said the judgment did not concern the merits of Mpshe’s decision to discontinue a prosecution against Zuma.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the agency would study the judgment to determine its 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," he said.

  • Koos - 2012-03-20 14:35

    he has 14 days to appeal...... he he he... this ought to be good...where's the popcorn!

      Poloyatonki - 2012-03-20 15:37

      JZ always wins...

      Alan - 2012-03-20 15:44

      ... by hook .. or by crook...

      mholthuysen - 2012-03-20 16:43

      And there will be another appeal, and more appeal, and even more appeals - why because he always wanted his day in court - our honest, trustworthy, caring for his people, not taking bribes, incorruptible, serving "President"..... okay I admit ate that green stuff so that I could just write this...

  • Peter - 2012-03-20 14:38

    Good luck to DA, but Zuma remains untouchable for as long as he has power to influence the judicial system. One could only hope that the masses are watching what this scum (Zuma) is capable of, bending rules and self enriching his family. I could support Malema's intentions to unseat Zuma anytime if it means Zuma will vacate office after mangaung

      Phiroz - 2012-03-20 14:56

      Last time I checked, we are living in a democracy, with one of the best Constitutions on this planet.The fact that you could address our President in the manner you have, without being punished in any way, bears clear evidence of our great Constitution and your freedom of expression entrenched within this sacred document. However, in a democracy, whether you like it or not, citizens of any acceptable moral standing, of said democracy, respect the 'Presidency'. Whomever is voted into this position, therefore deserves the right to be addressed as President, not 'scum' as someone of pretty low intellectual development would be prone to do.

      Arthur - 2012-03-20 15:12

      Phiroz, respect is earned, not dictated by a constitution. Zuma, in the way he has manipulated the judiciary and its affiliates, the way he has squirmed out of lawsuits, the way he has treated women, his lack of action with regard to his nephew, etc, etc, doesn't exactly place him on the 'Mr President' pedestal. Mugabe is also a president. Fat lot of respect he has for his people!

      Roy - 2012-03-20 15:23

      @ Phiroz - "However, in a democracy, whether you like it or not, citizens of any acceptable moral standing, of said democracy, respect the 'Presidency'" - What a load of BS - Respect is earned, not afforded automatically by status/position. Nelson Mandela earned respect - Perhaps you could enlighten us as to why we should respect Zuma

      Peter - 2012-03-20 15:25

      Phiroz... Zuma is as dumb as his supporters, period!!!

      placebo.effect - 2012-03-20 15:27

      He had a grade 3!!!! How can you respect a man with a grade 3 education. I wonder if he can spell his own name...

      Johan - 2012-03-20 15:31

      I will give you that the presidency needs to be respected. Peter has not said anything against the presidency. What he had to say was against Zuma. He might be the countries president but as a human he needs to respect the presidency as well but he did not. He should not have accepted the post/title with a cloud hanging over him and his deals with a convicted fraudster (and in this case the fraudster was convicted on the deals with Zuma). He used the presidency to try and hide from his corrupt deals. How can one man be convicted of a corrupt relation with another man and the other man is innocent

      Vusi - 2012-03-20 15:39

      keep on day dreaming Peter, there is no possibility of Zuma being unsat in Mangaung. Better concentrate on yo own political party and leave us alone with Zuma. Viva Mgabe viva, viva Idi Amin viva!

      Tony - 2012-03-20 16:22

      Cool ... Screw JZ ..I never voted for the dude and as such dont owe him that respect. On the other hand I do pay his salary as a tax payer, and as a public servant ......he owes me respect.

      Gerald - 2012-03-20 16:31

      @ Phiroz...well said @ Arthur...I agree with you that respect must be earned...But it is one thing not to respect someone and it is another to be insulting. Calling someone a scum goes beyond notions of lack of respect, it is insulting @ Roy...I agree that Mandela has earned a lot of respect, but that is also relative. Some people actually feel let down by him, esp with the Code a talks and how much leeway he gave to avoid civil war. Do you know how absa bank was formed. He knew, and he oked it. Open up the arms saga again, but after that investigate also how absa was formed and all the money that was siphoned out of the treasury between 1991 and 1994 by the prev apartheid regime. @ Peter...whether you think zuma's supporters are dumb is irrelevant, because you are quite irrelevant to them, I mean its not like a single of them will even notice if you swallowed cyanide. And if they do notice I somehow don't think they would think highly of your intellect. Whatever you think of them be advised they will always dictate the politics of the day, whether you like it or not. Funny how you, Peter, can qualify such a large demographic as dumb...doesn't that reflect upon your own intellect. Irony, it would seem, is not without a sense of humour

      Kevin - 2012-03-20 16:51

      Phiroz dont confuse human rights with our constitution, free speech is a human right enshrined in our constitution not a priviledge dispensed by the powerful. If Zuma has a problem with being called a criminal and scum he is at liberty to lay a complaint with the police, and proceed in the civil courts for damages. Thats how a free society functions, and tonrepeat what is elsewhere respect is earned.

      MagdaKus - 2012-03-20 17:25

      The big difference between JZ & Bob is that JZ was democratically elected. In a democracy someone is your president even if you support the opposition party (I do). Not to say everything has been above board- but little has been effectively been proven in court. As much as we may be sure something is one way or another- going by "hearsay" is not supporting democracy either.

      Hugo - 2012-03-20 19:17

      Vusi is a troll.I wonder why white trolls always use black names.If its not Vusi,it is Sipho!There are other names out there fellas

      Mandla - 2012-03-20 22:17

      I wanted to say that its disrepectful of you Peter to call a sitting president "scum". No one is calling you that despite the fact that you displaying qualities of being one. You kept quiet when Thatcher made a deal with the Scorpions and went home with a slap in the wrist of R10k fine. You are quiet now that Selebi is serving 15 yrs in jail while his corruptors are roaming the streets. I am talking about confessed drug dealers and killers. Just yesterday, two whites who killed their parents got less than 15 years jail yet the indian fellow who did not touch those parents got two life sentences. The white boys who killed a black homeless man served less than 5 years in jail. I can tell you now that very soon this "WHITE" justice will be over. This justice that has "eyes" looking at the colour of the skins will soon be over. The DA cannot always be privy to docs they are not entitled to. The last I heard was that the NDPP does not need to provide reasons for dropping cases against anyone. Why are the rules changing now that its Zuma or the ANC?

  • Dennis - 2012-03-20 14:49

    Sad really that people like the herdboy can manipulate and get away with it !! Great example he is setting !!

      Gwayimbo - 2012-03-20 14:58

      Deteem, have some respect this is your President....TROLL!

      Bigrp - 2012-03-20 15:13

      Gwayimbo, you earn respect through your actions, you don't "deserve" it because of the office you hold...sorry to say, but JZ has certainly not earned my respect!

      Gwayimbo - 2012-03-20 15:18

      Paul I'm gonna say this for the last time...Bru! Let go of the brandy and coke. A dogs fart makes more sense.

      Kent - 2012-03-20 15:24

      @ Gwayimbo. I do not believe Zuma respects the South African population therefore I do not respect him. Finish and klaar.

      Carol - 2012-03-20 15:26

      @Gwayimbo as someone said above, respect is EARNED and he's earned sweet fanny adams.

      Alan - 2012-03-20 16:05

      well shame, but the ANC is copping it from all sides now .. Cosatu, Fatb*y and the ANCYL, Toll roads and the new Pensions scandal, Service delivery protests, and now this ..... All I can say is LMML - the wheel turns....

  • Nosiphom - 2012-03-20 14:52

    Hence the rush to review the powers of the courts by Zuma and Jeff. According to them the courts are interfering, shame on you buggers. According to them the courts are the new opposition, hence the drive to change the constitution!

      Carol - 2012-03-20 15:27


      Cracker - 2012-03-20 16:35


  • Gwayimbo - 2012-03-20 14:54

    Can't say I feel sorry for Zuma, after what he did to our comrade Julius Malema Economic freedom will be achieved in our life time. RISE JUJU RISE!!!

      John - 2012-03-20 15:11

      When shade from the small people like Juju Malema becomes big ....sunset is close....

      Gwayimbo - 2012-03-20 15:12

      Paul your level of stupidity is astounding to say the least... Can you honestly tell me you understand what you just said Let go of the hand break while punching away those keys...idiot.

      John - 2012-03-20 15:17

      Paul, I agree with you.

      Alan - 2012-03-20 15:47

      @John - methinks Juju's shade is big coz of too many KFC burgers

      Alan - 2012-03-20 15:57

      Looks like Gway.. is going to live for a looong loooong time, coz Economic Freedom is only gonna be achieved when the Govt. educates the masses, and the masses work for upliftment, rather than demand it. (I am not blaming the masses BTW)... education should always have been the grass roots priority of the ANC .. but .... hmmm seems like a big of 'ego upliftment' got in the way...

      Cracker - 2012-03-20 16:41

      Problems ahead for Malema. The judgement makes it obvious that even the police and SARS can be taken to task if they don't do their jobs properly and discriminate for or against people in the exercise of their powers. If the DPP fails to prosecute...that's what the case dealt with and of course the making available of the reasons and material for the decision.

      Jeremy - 2012-03-20 22:25

      FYI you already have economic freedom. If you mean you want to fulfil the prescripts of the ANC NDC and start stealing property then that's another story all together.

      Balan - 2012-03-21 13:50

      Gwayimbo, you are really inhaling dogs stinking fart thats why you are lacking of oxygen to your brain.

  • schalk.mattheys - 2012-03-20 14:56

    My head hurts...

      Tammy - 2012-03-20 15:00

      after reading gwayimbo's comment? Mine too!

      Dave - 2012-03-20 15:02

      my heart bleeds...

      Alan - 2012-03-20 16:02

      Schalk .. take 3 KFC burgers and some Blue Label .. then take the rest of the year off.

  • Ditantane - 2012-03-20 14:58

    "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," (Mthunzi Mhaga) this is going to be interesting and costy for some, i wonder who will suffer the most.

      Roy - 2012-03-20 15:25

      the tax payer of course!!

      Peter - 2012-03-20 15:33

      The taxpayers who are covering the NPA legal costs will sure feel it, if they make the connection.

  • christian.helberg - 2012-03-20 15:01

    anc is going to declare full out war on our judiciary now, i mean the constitution is already under heavy fire

      Gwayimbo - 2012-03-20 15:08

      NO one is going to declare war on our Judiciary...will let the law take its course Motlanthe will be our next President come Mangaung.

      Dawood - 2012-03-20 15:28

      @ Paul pls respect ppl when you address are now insulting other commentators on this forum..that is really immature

      Poloyatonki - 2012-03-20 15:58

      Gwayimbo.... I Agree, Motlanthe will be our next SA President where those who dont support ANC likes it or not.

      Alan - 2012-03-20 16:09

      The road leading to Parliament is going to be the next Troll Road

      Kevin - 2012-03-20 16:56

      Gwayimbo is Motlanthe seeking the presidency to protect himself and or his girlfriend from prosecution? What do you think Julius fears by being chucked out of the ANC, no access to tenders and no protection from prosecution for tax and financial fraud.

      Andre Viljoen Joubert - 2012-03-20 18:02

      all these comments just proves to me that there is no inteligent live on other planets. Why should other planets be any diffirent than this one

      Hugo - 2012-03-20 19:20

      No,it wont.Dont forget that if the ANC wanted to derail the whole thing they would have done so already.Dont forget too that Mbeki was kicked out because of a court ruling.

  • Gabriel Arnold Zimbango - 2012-03-20 15:09

    I also want to see tht document..n l rly thnk th matter shld b publicised..wat is zuma hiding..

  • Kevin - 2012-03-20 15:11

    Bye Bye showerhead . heard that bench was headed by the honourable fatboy

  • Ringeta - 2012-03-20 15:11

    DA is trying luck. Judges have no power to decide who they should judge. It is NPA 's power to decide who should be sent to judges to judge.

      Gigo - 2012-03-20 15:15

      Correct I think courts are misusing their power, and the reason might be that they want to make madam happy. Transformation is needed as long as we have these current judges, we are going nowhere.

      Carol - 2012-03-20 15:29

      There are no words. None. Astounded at the stupidity.

      placebo.effect - 2012-03-20 15:31

      Yes they are using their powers to make follow the madam and her western values of accountability, transparency and service delivery. Exactly the opposite of the African national Cancer, Well put Sganja! I agree as long as we have non-cadre judges things will finally go somewhere!

      Alan - 2012-03-20 15:49

      Sganja is back! Troll Alert

      Andre Viljoen Joubert - 2012-03-20 17:35

      Wow. Common sense is deff the least common of senses.

  • Linda - 2012-03-20 15:12

    I seem to remember when Zuma was fired for suspected fraud as claiming that he couldnt wait for his day in court to prove his innocence..... However, since then he has fought tooth and nail and used every devious scheme in the book to avoid going to court. Perhaps his mother never taught him that when you say one thing and do another it is called LYING?!!!!! I dont care if he is the President - nothing he has said or done has engendered any respect for him. Perhaps if he showed some integrity..... Sorry, got a bit delusional there for a moment assuing he understood what this means.

      Alan - 2012-03-20 15:50

      @Tsh... nah - all the Showerheads are already allocated...!

  • Hermann - 2012-03-20 15:13

    Common guys stop gloating and squabbling. It is the rule of law that won, not the DA which was merely instrumental. Let us wait see what comes of this now.

      Hugo - 2012-03-20 19:23

      and the ruling was respected.

  • Tammy - 2012-03-20 15:16

    Paul for president!

      Poloyatonki - 2012-03-20 16:12

      Do you mean Alien Paul?

  • Glyn - 2012-03-20 15:19

    What does this bit at the end mean - " and remind all that these were preliminary issues with no direct impact on his decision not to prosecute,"? Sounds fishy!

      mattsibiya - 2012-03-20 16:19

      The order given for a review of the documents (those alowed to be reviewed) has no effect on the decision taken by the acting NDPP to not prosecute. Only documents are to be reviewed.

      Cracker - 2012-03-20 16:59

      To add more: The court did not deal with the correctness of the decision not to prosecute. So the decision not to prosecute remain in force until it is set aside by a court in later proceedings - that is if the DA decides to take the matter on review. The court in this particular instance only dealt with the right of the DA to take the decision not to prosecute on review and the disclosure of the material and reasons for the NDPP's decision not to prosecute. The court decided the DA may take the NDPP's decision not to prosecute on review and that the material and reasons for the decision must be supplied by the NDPP so the DA can be in a position to decide if it wishes to take the decision not to prosecute on review.

  • Kapei - 2012-03-20 15:22

    For a change other people applied their minds.

  • Tammy - 2012-03-20 15:23

    i see sganja is back, Paul - vat hom flaffie. Have to go now but thanx for entertaining us today - looking forward to the next troll hunt :)

  • Scheepers - 2012-03-20 15:27

    @Gwayimbo - If i remember correctly the ANC and ANC youth thought of Motlanthe as a lame duck. Really now when he took over from Mbeki, it was more a joke than anything else. Unfortuntely (or maybe i should say fortuntely) I do not understand the ways of the ANCYL, acream, shout and fight for Zuma, then suddenly when Zuma makes decisions thats actually makes sense(which isnt often) then he is the enemy of the ANCYL. Who says Motlanthe isnt going to do the same, the only way to get into power in this country is to have the illiterate youth behind you, once in power he will change as well, so in a year or two we will have the bleeting sheep(ANCYL) supporting another character.

      Isabel - 2012-03-20 15:29

      ANC = Anarchy, Nepotism, Corruption. I hope the Arch is still praying!

  • K0BUSL - 2012-03-20 15:40

    To all South Africans: Every position in life deserves respect, but the person who holds the position has to earn the respect by acting in a manner fitting his position. The position of President of South Africa has always been respected by me, but for the person currently holding the position I have no respect as he has done nothing to elevate himself to his post. The reason for me saying this is as follows:- 1) he had unprotected sex with the daughter of his friend(forget the rape charges) notwithstanding the fact that she is HIV Positive nor the fact that he is married (a number of times) with children (nearly a school full) 3) he has been implicated in various shady dealing that have been to the detriment of his country (armsgate etc etc) being accused of accepting Bribes and being Corrupt (the last a charge his best buddy was proven guilty and sentenced for and escaped by the presidential nod on a very dubious Medical Parole) 4) His family (wifes, children and other relatives) have been implicated in various deals providing unfair benefit to the clan on the basis of their relationship 5) Post 94 he has been implicated in various issues such as Abuse of Power, Corruption, Nepotism, Fraud, philandering, power brokering, money squandering etc and regularly embarresses himself and SA by his action and words. For these reasons I state that I do not respect Jacob Zuma!!!! PS Good on someone for standing up and the judiciary for being free!

      Alan - 2012-03-20 15:54

      well said Kobus

      Archie - 2012-03-20 16:21

      We can thank the tenacity of the DA leadership for this moral victory.The tank is getting smaller ,the bad fish are starting to drown.The best thing the ANC did was to threaten the judiciary,they have made them realise where their future lies.Go DA and all other opposition parties we are in the forefront of a new wave of moral decency .

      Kent - 2012-03-20 18:03

      @ K0BUSL. Of all the transgressions the worst must be when he threatened to expose the arms deal if he gets implicated. That means he is an accessory to the crime and will not divulge what he knows until he himself is implicated. Shame on you, you non respectable president.

      Hugo - 2012-03-20 19:25

      I am sure that His excellency is now cuddled in a corner weeping

  • william - 2012-03-20 15:46


  • Deon - 2012-03-20 16:18

    You are all too late. This shower head allready had his way with all the evidence. You are wasting your time......

  • jmbentse - 2012-03-20 16:27

    Viva ANC, Zuma we love you...

      frank.hartry - 2012-03-20 18:35

      said tongue in cheek right? No person in his/her right mind can honestly say viva to a political organisation under a seemingly corrupt president which stole billions of taxpayers money intended for service delivery to the poor people of South Africa. The ANC and Zuma are a shameful embarrassment and disgrace to South Africa.

      Hugo - 2012-03-20 19:27

      if that organization was corrupt,would they have not interfered with this ruling?The same NPA that will release the said files is staffed with members of this organization you hate so much.Any one had of right of association?

  • samgaf - 2012-03-20 16:40

    why is it taking soooooo long and difficult to expose criminals

  • phathuchicos - 2012-03-20 17:08

    public interest...what way? he's not jesus christ for god's sake...even if he gets kidnapped who cares

  • Emmanuel - 2012-03-20 17:28

    I have made it a pastime to amuse myself with the way South Africans specialise in tearing each other apart across racial boundaries, all in the name of democracy and freedom of expression! Since I am a Zimbo who is ruled by a dictator, I shall keep my mouth shut - and enjoy the spectacle.

      phathuchicos - 2012-03-20 21:48

      and don't forget the fireworks back at home...

  • felican - 2012-03-20 17:40

    mmmmm - I feel 'A Bad Moon Rising' - so 'Awheretu South Africa Awheretu!!

  • Noko Trevor - 2012-03-20 18:02

    This trully is a bitter-white-people-website, geez after scanning all the comments and sub-comments, i'm glad i really don take the media-news that seriously, regardless of how it affects.

  • roger.pacey - 2012-03-20 18:41

    Note that this was a unanimous decision: no minority verdict that "makes more sense" to the ruling party.

  • Hugo - 2012-03-20 19:14

    Like hell it is,we want to know

  • Matanje - 2012-03-20 19:22

    Wonder where he and some pals of his thought they lived... in some tribal camp in exile?

  • Elvis - 2012-03-22 01:32

    This is precisely the reason why we need the protection of state information act. The ANC has to amendt the consititution. We should do what is in the "public's interest" and not what "interests the public". This a national security issue.

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