DA to challenge ruling over Zuma documents

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will appeal a high court decision against its bid to compel the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to release documents on why it halted the prosecution of President Jacob Zuma.

Party MP James Selfe said he believed the judge in the case dismissed the application on “erroneous grounds”.

“We believe that this matter is of such fundamental constitutional importance that it requires the adjudication of the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court,” Selfe said.

The case, he said, had a link to the party’s appeal against a high court ruling against its application to set aside Zuma’s appointment of Menzi Simelane as national director of public prosecutions (NDPP).

“If you consider Simelane’s case and this case, the implication is that the president can appoint someone as the NPA head and as that decision is not reviewable, the person can take a decision not to continue with a prosecution.”

The DA had wanted to access the documents to support its application to have the decision not to prosecute Zuma set aside.

Direct interest
“The court found that the DA did not have legal standing [locus standi] in that it did not comply with the requirement in our law that to have standing in a matter one must have a direct interest therein,” said NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga.

“This judgement clearly illustrates our view that the matter should not have been dealt with before the courts in the first instance,” he said.

“Our strong view has been that South Africa does not, in principle, follow a system of compulsory prosecution.

“The NPA has a discretion whether or not to institute and conduct criminal proceedings or whether to discontinue them.”

Corruption charges against Zuma were dropped ahead of the 2009 general election. Then-acting director of public prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe announced that the charges were dropped due to an abuse of process by former head of the Directorate of Special Operations, Leonard McCarthy.

Zuma was facing 16 charges linked to a multibillion-rand government arms deal, including racketeering, money-laundering, corruption and fraud.

Mpshe’s announcement ended a long legal battle between the authority and the ruling party’s presidential candidate. — Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Calls for climate change to top DA policy conference agenda

Some people in the Democratic Alliance apparently have a narrow view of what sustainability means, but voters are concerned about the climate crisis

Carlos on quaranting the ANC’s corrupt

The ANC has a solution for cadres: Wait until the next news cycle. Rinse. Repeat.

As opposition mounts, Zimbabwe’s president lashes out

Emmerson Mnangagwa has accused ‘dark forces’ of destabilising the country

The ANC is selling false hope, but no one’s buying

The disciplinary paralysis in the ANC makes dealing with graft an ambitious exercise in futility

Metro cops, SAPS clash over control

Tensions between the City of Cape Town and the police service over responsibilities mirrors the strain between national and local government

Big retailers need to step up to the plate

To stave off a multi-generational malnutrition crisis, the food industry must work with government to provide highly nutritious foods at cost during the pandemic

Sekhukhune’s five-year battle for water back in court

The residents of five villages are calling for the district municipal manager to be arrested

Fees free fall, independent schools close

Parents have lost their jobs or had salaries cut; without state help the schools just can’t survive

Vaccine trial results due in December

If successful, it will then have to be manufactured and distributed

White men still rule and earn more

Women and black people occupy only a few seats at the JSE table, the latest PwC report has found

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday