Court rejects attempt to delay Zuma hearing

The Cape High Court on Monday struck from the roll an attempt to delay the hearing of the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) appeal against the scrapping of Jacob Zuma’s corruption charges.

The Society for the Protection of our Constitution had wanted the hearing — set down for Friday in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) — to take place only after next year’s general election.

It sought an order forcing the African National Congress national executive to file an application within 48 hours challenging the date.

It also wanted the minister of justice to instruct the NPA to ask the SCA to postpone the appeal hearing until after the polls.

However, acting Cape Judge President Jeanette Traverso ruled on Monday that she had no jurisdiction in the matter.

It was trite law that one court could not interfere in the functions of another, she said, and the matter was already pending before the SCA.

It was also acknowledged in the Constitution that every court had the right to regulate its own processes, and she as a judge in Cape Town could not issue orders that would affect the workings of the SCA.

She ordered that the application be struck from the roll, and awarded costs against the society.

Society secretary Muhammed Vawda said afterwards that the society felt ”unjustly handled” and would consult its lawyer on the options open to it now.

”We won’t leave it standing if something can be done about it,” he said.

The society said in court papers that normally there was a gap of at least five months between the granting of leave to appeal and the appeal hearing.

It said speeding up the process, as the SCA had done in the Zuma case, was not in the interests of justice.

If the NPA won the appeal, it meant Zuma would be branded a criminal awaiting trial, which would hamper his campaigning in the run-up to the elections.

This would violate the right of Zuma himself, and the ANC as a whole, to a free and fair election.

The society says all its members are ANC supporters.

The SCA hearing follows the Pietermaritzburg High Court decision in September setting aside corruption charges against Zuma, who is president of the ANC. — Sapa

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