POLITICS

Expert: Zuma's Team Is Angling To Get NPA To Drop Charges -- Again

"One would think that they want this because they are pretty confident that they would have a sympathetic ear with the national director of public prosecutions."

14/09/2017 16:26 SAST | Updated 14/09/2017 16:27 SAST
Pontsho Mabena

It seems the rationale behind Zuma's legal team approaching the Supreme Court of Appeal was yet another delaying tactic.

This is according to legal expert Professor Pierre de Vos, who said it was inevitable that both Zuma's legal representatives and those of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) would concede that the decision to drop charges against the president was irrational.

"I don't think there were many serious lawyers who saw that that original decision was not irrational... Most of us said at the time that the decision made no sense," he said.

On Thursday, the court reserved judgment in the president's application for leave to appeal 783 counts of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering levelled against him.

This came after a stunning turn of events which saw Zuma's and the NPA's legal teams conceding that the decision to withdraw criminal charges was irrational -- bringing the arguments to an abrupt end.

"What is interesting is, now that it came to the court after they succeeded in delaying it for eight years, they now conceded that it was not rational... it looks very much for any normal person that they were deliberately delaying," De Vos said.

"From the kinds of things the lawyers from the NPA and Zuma's sides said -- their new strategy seems [to] be to get the NPA again to drop the charges. But it will depend on what the court says."

De Vos explained that Zuma's lawyers want to be able to make new representations, a move that could get the NPA to drop the charges for other reasons.

"One would think that they want this because they are pretty confident that they would have a sympathetic ear with the national director of public prosecutions," De Vos said.

"I think they obviously knew that they were going to lose the case, they are now looking for other options to avoid going to court."

In 2016, the North Gauteng High Court found the decision to drop charges against the president was illegal and irrational. The court set the decision aside, effectively reinstating the charges.

Zuma sought leave to appeal, but it was refused. It is the leave to appeal, and if granted, the appeal itself, that the court heard on Thursday.

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