POLITICS

What Is Zuma Playing At?

He must have a trick up his sleeve...

15/09/2017 06:27 SAST | Updated 15/09/2017 06:28 SAST
Rogan Ward / Reuters
President Jacob Zuma. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Zuma's legal representatives dropped a bombshell in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on Thursday when they conceded that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) erred in dropping charges against the president.

It raised more questions than answers, though.

In 2016, when the North Gauteng High Court found the decision to drop charges against the president illegal and irrational –- which effectively meant reinstating the 783 counts of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering levelled against him –- Zuma was quick to appeal.

His team approached the SCA to seek leave to appeal, but Judge Mahomed Navsa and his team were quick to show that the task was immense -– something Zuma's lawyer, Kemp J Kemp, probably already knows.

So why did Zuma and the NPA head to the SCA to appeal a judgment that they then conceded to be correct? The question then is, what is Zuma's strategy?

Perhaps it was yet another delaying tactic in an almost decade-long legal battle to have Zuma get his day in court.

But what Kemp made clear was that Zuma was seeking to make new representations in his case, should he be taken to trial.

This is where it gets interesting: Zuma may be seeking a permanent stay of prosecution.

In this case, Zuma would then have to argue that it would be impossible for him to get a fair trial as guaranteed by the Constitution -– something that is seen as a last resort.

His legal team will have to show that it would be impossible for Zuma to have a fair trial. Perhaps they may argue that, because the case has dragged on for almost a decade, witnesses would be unable to remember what happened, or that the media had since stained initial evidence with new reports.

Of course, this may only be the case if Navsa rules against the appeal.

Or perhaps Zuma is attempting to drag court proceedings until after the ANC's national elective conference in December...

He is personally campaigning for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to take over the reigns -– and although she has distanced herself from her ex-husband, she is fluent in Zuma-speak.

Dlamini-Zuma moves in the same circles, garnering support from Zuma factions such as the ANC's Youth and Women's Leagues. She has not spoken out about corruption and state capture as much as South Africa would want her to, seeing that she can do so without being charged for ill discipline or bringing the party into disrepute.

She is not an MP after all. Yet.

But she has also said publicly that she would not ignore Zuma's charges should she become president. Whether that is all campaign talk, we don't know.

The SCA reserved judgment and the date will be announced soon. Zuma's strategy is unclear now, but based on him being able to wriggle out of such situations for almost a decade, we can expect something clever.

Not forgetting that Zuma has friends in the NPA.

Zuma's first card has been played, and now it's the court's turn.