Maybe NPA boss didn't think through Zuma 700 charges ruling: court

14 September 2017 - 12:15 By Genevieve Quintal
President Jacob Zuma.
President Jacob Zuma.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

The Supreme Court of Appeal on Thursday questioned whether the timing of serving the indictment on Jacob Zuma had in any way undermined the decision to prosecute him.

The issue was raised in relation to the decision taken in 2009 by prosecutions boss Mokotedi Mpshe to drop more than 700 charges against Zuma.

Mpshe himself had conceded that there was no interference in the prosecutorial process and that Zuma would have received a fair trial.

Hilton Epstein for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) argued that there had been political interference from former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy‚ who delayed the serving of the indictment to after the ANC's Polokwane conference because he wanted Thabo Mbeki to be re-elected president.

Epstein argued that McCarthy did not want the indictment served before the conference because it would lead to people rallying behind Zuma.

Zuma and the NPA have approached the SCA in a bid to appeal an order by the High Court in Pretoria that the corruption charges be reinstated.

The DA wants the SCA to dismiss Zuma and the NPA’s application for leave to appeal the ruling‚ saying in its heads of argument that their arguments were "void of any merit".

Justice Azhar Cachalia said Mpshe's decision to drop the charges indicated that either "he was a man operating without knowing what he is doing" or he did not apply his mind.

Justice Mahomed Navsa said "it was not the decision to prosecute that was contaminated".

He said the motive for prosecution was irrelevant‚ provided that there was a case.

The hearing continues.

Questions were also raised about contradictory affidavits made between 2009 and present on who had actually made the decision to charge Zuma.