OPINION

Absent Zuma gets another brief reprieve - Mmusi Maimane

DA says it is ironic that NPA charged Gordhan but stubbornly refuses to reinstate the much more serious charges against the president

Zuma Corruption Charges: Absent Zuma gets another brief reprieve 

12 October 2016

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the unusual decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) today that it would prefer to hear oral arguments in open court in President Jacob Zuma’s application for leave to appeal the decision of the Gauteng North High Court. 

The High court found that the decision to drop the corruption charges against Jacob Zuma in 2009 was irrational and set that decision aside. The High Court also denied leave to appeal on the basis that President Zuma's appeal would have no prospect of success. We still agree with this view, and we are very confident that the SCA will come to the same conclusion once it has heard oral arguments. 

To this point the President has only had his interests at heart to the detriment of South Africa, its people and the Judiciary. He must take responsibility and in so doing he must immediately abandon this vexatious litigation and face the charges for which he stands accused and not plunder more of South Africans’ money into fruitless appeals. 

Of course, this does mean another delay in this case, and another brief reprieve for Jacob Zuma. It would be in the interests of justice for President Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to drop their spurious appeals, accept the judgment of the High Court, and face the corruption charges that he has tried to avoid for so long. 

It is a bitter irony that the NPA has charged Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, but stubbornly refuses to reinstate the much more serious charges against Jacob Zuma - despite a High Court judgment telling them to do so. The NPA’s actions belie their stated commitment to equality before the law and “letting the law take its course”. As for Zuma, his strategy increasingly resembles what author Karen Dawisha has called “for my friends anything; for my enemies the law”. 

It is revealing that President Zuma’s only show of energy or zeal in recent weeks has been in attacking the Public Protector’s conduct in her investigation of state capture in Zuma’s inner circle. President Zuma has been totally absent in the ongoing crisis on our university campuses, and has been silent on the NPA’s extraordinary decision to charge Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. 

President Zuma is nowhere to be seen, absent without leave. The only thing that seems to animate him is staying out prison. He can attempt to delay that eventuality, as he has done, but not indefinitely - President Zuma will one day have his day in court, and we are one step closer to that today. 

Issued by Mabine Seabe, Spokesperson to the DA Leader, 12 October 2016