NPA will appeal spy tapes ruling, says it has final say

President Jacob Zuma
President Jacob Zuma

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will tomorrow announce its decision to appeal the North Gauteng High Court ruling that its decision to drop charges against President Jacob Zuma was irrational.

City Press has learnt that the reasons to be advanced in the appeal arguments include that the NPA believes that it has the final say on prosecutorial discretion, and that deciding whether or not to prosecute Zuma was their call to make – not the court’s.

A senior official within the prosecution authority said one of the reasons being advanced was that the NPA was required to act without fear, favour or prejudice.

“Because of [former Scorpions boss] Leonard McCarthy’s conduct, we are of the view that prosecuting Zuma was prejudicial to him because of political considerations. This will have dire consequences on the organisation and we are of the view that a higher court will find differently from the North Gauteng High Court,” he said.

The insider said that should the high court refuse them leave to appeal, they would petition the Supreme Court of Appeal directly.

City Press reported three weeks ago that the NPA was preparing to challenge the court’s ruling that the decision to drop charges against Zuma was irrational.

Four senior prosecutors told City Press at the time that a decision to appeal the ruling was taken even before the ruling of the full Bench was handed down by Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba.

This week several NPA sources said the appeal remained on the cards and that national director of public prosecutions Advocate Shaun Abrahams and his most senior deputy, Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, were having several briefings with the authority’s counsel, Advocate Hilton Epstein SC.

Epstein represented the NPA in the spy tapes matter and yesterday confirmed that the NPA remained on his client list.

“I cannot share any information with you regarding the matter,” he said, but he confirmed that he was still being briefed by the NPA.

Abrahams, who denied at the time that they had decided to appeal the judgment, is expected to brief the media tomorrow regarding the matter. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

In a statement released after the judgment, the presidency appeared to leave its appeal options open, saying: “As a party to the proceedings, the president has noted the decision of the court and will give consideration to the judgment and its consequences and the remedies available in terms of our law.”

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