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24 Sep 2008 14:17
African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma has until Friday to decide whether to respond to President Thabo Mbeki’s Constitutional Court application, the Star reported on Wednesday.
The court notified Zuma and acting national prosecuting boss Mokotedi Mpshe on Tuesday that they should give notice by September 26 of opposition to Mbeki’s application.
Mbeki lodged an urgent application in the Constitutional Court on Monday to appeal against sections of the judgement handed down by Judge Chris Nicholson in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on September 12.
The newspaper reported that under normal rules, Zuma and Mpshe would be given 10 days to decide on their response to the application. The fact that they had only been given until Friday seemed to indicate the urgency with which the application was being treated by Chief Justice Pius Langa.
Zuma’s lawyer, Michael Hulley, told the paper that his client had not yet made a decision about a response.
Mbeki announced on Sunday that he would resign as president after the national executive committee of the ANC decided to remove him from office following Nicholson’s ruling.
Nicholson, in a judgement that found the decision to prosecute Zuma on fraud and corruption charges was invalid, also said: “I am ...
not convinced that the applicant [Zuma] was incorrect in averring political meddling in his prosecution.”
Mbeki, in papers lodged before the Constitutional Court on Monday, argues that Nicholson’s statements were “unfair and unjust”.
“I respectfully submit that it was not necessary for the learned judge to make the findings I am appealing against, or seeking to set aside, in order for him to decide the real issue that was before him.
“In any event, it was improper for the court to make such far-reaching findings concerning me.”
Mbeki said the judgement was made without having afforded him a hearing.
It constituted “a violation of his constitutional rights”, including his rights to access to courts and dignity.
He wants the Constitutional Court to set aside “all findings of law and fact in the judgement” concerning himself.
“The findings ... also go further in that they in effect say that I have failed to fulfil the constitutional obligation to uphold and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic,” said Mbeki. As a direct result, the ANC’s NEC decided to recall him as president.
“It is unfair and unjust for me to be judged and condemned on the basis of the findings in the Zuma matter. The interests of justice, in my respectful submission, would demand that the matter be rectified.”
He also said there was a “real possibility” that “persons with malicious intent could act on it [the judgement] to the detriment of the office of the president.
“Unless the errors in the judgement are rectified immediately by means of a judgement, I will continue to suffer and may even suffer great harm as would the office of the president of the Republic of South Africa and members of the national executive.”—Sapa
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