NPA to proceed quickly with Zuma appeal

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will approach the Supreme Court of Appeal within days in a bid to obtain a date on which its appeal against a judgement invalidating charges against African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma can be heard.

Speaking on Wednesday after Judge Chris Nicholson had granted the NPA leave to appeal against his September 12 judgement, NPA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said: “We will approach the SCA in a matter of days. We will endeavour to have this appeal finalised as expeditiously as possible.”

Granting leave to appeal in the Durban High Court, Nicholson said the case was a complex one, and that certain sections of the Constitution had never before been argued and “occasioned me much anxious deliberation”.

Nicholson, who conceded that there had been no oral argument on the issue when the case was heard in August, said: “I also made orders on the two applications to strike out allegations of political interference in the papers.”

He added: “Detailed reasons have been given, both in the notice of appeal and the heads of argument, why the court erred in making such findings.”

Zuma faced a charge each of racketeering and money laundering, two charges of corruption and 12 charges of fraud related to the multibillion-rand government arms deal.

He was charged in 2005, but that case was struck from the roll in 2006. He was recharged in December 2007.

Zuma’s attorney, Michael Hulley, declined to speak to the media after proceedings.

Tlali said that the NPA had “taken note of the fact that leave to appeal had been granted on all 16 grounds” and that the ruling “bolsters” the NPA.

He said the case also needed to be finalised because “Nicholson indicated that we are dealing with issues that have never been dealt with before”.

The ANC said on Wednesday that the NPA is trying to resurrect the trial against Zuma to prevent him from running for the position of head of state.

“The move by the NPA, coming after the earlier vindication and exoneration of comrade Zuma by the Pietermaritzburg High Court, signals yet another attempt to resurrect the trial and block the ANC president from running and becoming head of state,” said spokesperson Brian Sokutu.

He said Zuma had been subjected to a “vindictive prosecution”, and that the legislature, executive and judiciary had all denied Zuma equal protection before the law.

“The September judgement made it clear that the NPA acted as though it was a law unto itself with undue political interference,” Sokutu said.

He said that judgement was a ” victory for justice and the Constitution”, and reiterated the ANC’s support for Zuma as ” the face of the organisation” in the run-up to next year’s elections.

It is not immediately clear when the matter is likely to come before the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.—Sapa

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