Zuma wants to make fresh representation to NPA boss in spy tapes case

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein heard arguments in a nine-year long legal battle to have criminal charges against President Jacob Zuma reinstated.

This after President Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) appealed the High Court's ruling that the decision to withdraw charges against Zuma was irrational.

Then acting National Director of Public Prosecutions, Mokotedi Mpshe, withdrew the charges, after hearing representations from Zuma, which included the so-called spy tapes.

The NPA and the President later submitted applications to appeal the High Court's decision but were denied direct access to appeal. They then filed applications to the SCA, which granted them access and allowed their legal teams to present arguments.

In a dramatic turn of events in court today, both the National Prosecuting Authority and President Jacob Zuma’s legal teams have conceded that the decision to withdraw criminal charges was irrational and should be set aside.

EWN's Barry Bateman reports that in a surprise about turn, Zuma’s advocate Kemp J Kemp told the court he concedes that Mokotedi’s 2009 decision was irrational and stands to be set aside.

It was a very interesting point they conceded on. It related to a legal technical point that was identified by the NPA's advocate Hilton Epstein....he picked up this 'difficulty'...when he was drafting his papers.

Barry Bateman, EWN reporter

It relates to the provision upon which Mpshe relied to make his decision to review the decision to prosecute President Jacob Zuma. In terms of the case law Mpshe was not entitled to do so as an NDPP.

Therefore it is irrational and stands to be set aside....and there was no fight back against it.

Barry Bateman, EWN reporter

What was planned as an appeal turned into a discussion about what happen's next, says Bateman.

The NPA want this matter to go back to prosecutions boss Sean Abrahams to reconsider afresh, he adds.

Listen to the latest update and analysis from Barry Bateman:

Earlier on The Midday Report, Bateman explained some of the argument put before the court on Thursday.

Assuming that the court does find that the decision in 2009 was invalid and it is set aside, what happens then?

Barry Bateman, EWN reporter

The argument from Shaun Abrahams is that it ought to go back to him as director to make a decision afresh.

Barry Bateman, EWN reporter

The court isn't accepting that... They are saying the way it is going to happen is that once the decision is invalid it reverts back to the status quo before that.

Barry Bateman, EWN reporter

Adv Paul Hoffman, director of an NGO Accountability Now, had advised in the past that the NPA's decision to appeal the High Court's ruling as ill advised.

This goes to the question of the competence and the experience of the leadership of the NPA. If they don't appreciate that if a decision to withdraw a prosecution that has been put on the table is reserved in a judicial review, then the initial process to start a prosecution against Jacob Zuma stands.

Adv Paul Hoffman, director of an NGO Accountability Now

That ought to be quite apparent to an experienced and competent national director of public prosecution.

Adv Paul Hoffman, director of an NGO Accountability Now

It seems a lot of time has been wasted on ducking and diving, delaying and deflecting not only on the part of Jacob Zuma and also the NPA.

Adv Paul Hoffman, director of an NGO Accountability Now

To hear more of this interview, listen below:


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