POLITICS

Zuma, NPA Now Agree: Dropping Corruption Charges Was 'Irrational'

Judgment reserved after surprising concession from legal teams.

14/09/2017 13:44 SAST | Updated 14/09/2017 14:49 SAST
Mike Hutchings / Reuters
President Jacob Zuma.

The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein has reserved judgment in President Jacob Zuma'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 National Prosecuting Authority's legal teams conceding that the decision to withdraw criminal charges was irrational –- bringing the arguments to an abrupt end.

In a surprising admission, Zuma's advocate Kemp J Kemp told the court he concedes a decision by National Prosecuting Authority's former acting head Mokotedi Mpshe to drop charges in April 2009 against the newly minted ANC President Jacob Zuma was irrational and stands to be set aside.

But he wants the court's direction in what happens next.

Presiding Judge Mahomed Navsa then reserved judgment in the matter.

Navsa said there was a compelling conclusion that the National Prosecuting Authority did not know what it was doing and used the wrong law to justify its decision when it dropped charges against the president.

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.