The Supreme Court of Appeal may have dismissed with costs, estimated at R30 million, the appeal put forward by President Jacob Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority on the “spy tape” saga.
But what does this mean for South Africa?
Basically the ball is in the court of the NPA, specifically its controversial head Shaun Abrahams, who is “interrogating” the judgment.
The 47-page judgment by Judge Mohamed Navsa was read by Justice Eric Leach today in Bloemfontein. Because Zuma’s appeal was overturned, the NPA will be able to reinstate the 18 charges against Zuma. The charges, which were withdrawn in 2009, relate to fraud, racketeering and money laundering.
The NPA is “interrogating” the decision.
“We had the judge say it was a 47-page judgment, [and] we need to consider the judgment before we engage South Africans,” NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said.
The Democratic Alliance, which has been spearheading the case against Zuma, believed that “the matter is now straightforward”.
“The charges now stand, and a court of law must hear this matter. If the president is innocent, as he proclaims, he ought to let a trial court decide on his innocence. His actions over the last decade smack of a desperate attempt to avoid this eventuality. These are the actions of a man who knows he has a lot to answer for,” DA leader Mmusi Maimane said.
He will now be writing to Abrahams to insist on the issuing of an indictment against Zuma to appear in court on the 783 counts against him.
He said that Abrahams will have 10 days to respond.
“We estimate that Zuma’s delaying tactics in the courts to date have cost the taxpayers upwards of R30 million. Jacob Zuma must and will be held personally liable and made to pay for wasting valuable financial resources. Zuma must pay back the money he wasted,” he said.
The ANC has also said it will study the judgment.
“The ANC has full confidence in our judiciary and the options it offers to all aggrieved parties. Accordingly, the ANC will study the judgment and await decisions from the affected parties before making a comprehensive statement on this matter,” ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.
In 2009, the charges were dropped against the president just before he was sworn in as president, but the DA wanted the charges to be reinstated.
The “spy tapes” saga goes back to recorded conversations between former Hawks boss Leonard McCarthy and former NPA boss Bulelani Mgcxuka, which provided scathing evidence into collusion against Zuma between former NPA officials and former president Thabo Mbeki.
The presidency has responded to the judgment, saying that it would mean that the NPA would have to also consider the representations that Zuma made to it.
“Importantly, it means that the representations have not been considered and the expectation is that the national director of public prosecutions [Abrahams] will now consider these representations under the correct prescripts of the law and make a legitimate decision relating thereto,” the presidency spokesperson, Bongani Ngqulunga, said.
Here is the presidency’s full statement: