NPA, Zuma’s legal teams agree that 2009 decision was “irrational”

Image: The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. Credit: OFM News

What was meant to be an appeal hearing against a decision the Pretoria High Court took last year, ended with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and President Jacob Zuma’s legal teams agreeing with the ruling that the decision in 2009 to withdraw the charges against Zuma was  “irrational”.

Zuma’s lawyer, Advocate Kemp J Kemp, surprised many when he conceded that the 2009 decision to drop 783 criminal charges against Zuma was “irrational”.

Advocate Kemp argued that prosecution proceedings against Zuma could quite simply not resume where they were left, as the entire process would need to be kick-started again.

The Pretoria High Court ruled in April 2016 that former NPA boss, Mokotedi Mpshe’s decision to drop the 783 charges against President Jacob Zuma was “irrational”.

In the appeal hearing held at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein on Thursday, Advocate Kemp told that court that he agreed with the court’s ruling that the 2009 decision should indeed be reviewed.

Meanwhile, Advocate Hilton Epstein, who represented the NPA, requested the SCA to refer the court’s decision to prosecute Zuma back the NPA boss, Shaun Abrahams, to reconsider the matter.

Following these submissions by the two legal teams, Justice Azhar Cachalia then suggested that a new indictment be served on Zuma, which would lead to a new trial on Zuma.  Judge Cachalia however revealed that it would be Abraham’s decision whether Zuma should be given a retrial as the SCA cannot make that decision.

Democratic Alliance’s Federal Executive, James Selfe, said that the matter of the retrial was a delaying tactic on part of the NPA and Zuma’s legal presentation, much like how the entire case was dragged over a period of 8 and half years.

– Pulane Choane