The Democratic Alliance (DA) complained on Tuesday that its application to have the decision to drop a corruption case against President Jacob Zuma overturned has been unnecessarily delayed by the opposing parties.
The case was initially brought in April 2009, more than a year ago, but preliminary matters are only now being dealt with by the court.
“Had it not been for the delays, this matter could have been heard and resolved much earlier,” said James Selfe, the party’s federal chairperson.
“Broadly speaking, the DA’s case is not about whether Jacob Zuma is innocent or guilty of the charges,” Selfe said. “We are asking the court to review, correct and set aside Mr [Mokotedi] Mpshe’s decision to discontinue the prosecution [Mpshe was then acting as director of public prosecutions].
“We are doing this in the interest of equality before the law and we ask that the court declare this decision to be inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid.”
Access to the documentation
However, this week’s proceedings do not directly deal with these matters, but rather focus on whether the DA may have access to the documentation upon which Mpshe relied in coming to his challenged decision: “The DA believes that it is so entitled to the documentation to support its contention that the NPA did not act without fear, favour and prejudice in discontinuing the prosecution.”
The DA is also seeking a ruling on whether other parties may intervene in the case. The DA believes that Richard Young and his company, CCII Systems, should be admitted as intervening parties in this case.
Two other aspects are likely to be debated over the coming days, Selfe says. The first is the standing of the DA. “We believe that as a political party, our responsibility is to act in the public interest, as is it our duty to ensure that the Constitution is upheld and that all are equal before the law; no individual person should be favoured because of the special position that they hold,” the DA chief said.
Second is the reviewability of the NPA’s decision not to prosecute.
“We believe that a decision to discontinue a prosecution is reviewable both because it is an administrative action under the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, and because it is reviewable under the principle of legality underpinning the Constitution,” Selfe explained. — I-Net Bridge