NPA not embarrassed by 'spy tapes' concession

File: President Jacob Zuma’s protracted legal battle to avoid prosecution on charges of corruption, racketeering, money laundering and fraud, continued in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein on Thursday. Photo: REUTERS / Fred Dufour




BLOEMFONTEIN - Lawyers for President Jacob Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Thursday admitted that the original decision to withdraw 783 corruption, fraud and racketeering charges against the president was a mistake.

However, they don't agree that this means he should immediately go to trial.

Zuma’s lawyers say he must be afforded another opportunity to make representations to NPA head Shaun Abrahams about why the case should be dropped.

WATCH: Zuma appeals spy tapes ruling

Zuma's advocate admitted that an earlier decision by the NPA, to withdraw corruption charges against him, was irrational.

NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku says the prosecuting body isn't embarrassed after Thursday’s 'spy tapes' case.

“It is not an embarrassment for the NPA. Whenever you believe in a particular principle, you need to pursue that principle to the end we cannot comment extensively really on the proceedings because the judgment is reserved. Once judgment is delivered, that is when we can engage extensively on the matter,” Mfaku said.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it is ready for another legal battle if the NPA again decides not to prosecute Zuma.

"I don’t care if it takes another 18 and a half years, we are going to get to a situation where Jacob G Zuma appears in court,” DA Federal Executive Chairperson James Selfe said.

TIMELINE: The spy tapes saga

The charges relate to the influence of the awarding of contracts in the so-called 'Arms Deal' saga in 1999, when government bought military equipment to the value of R30-billion.

At the centre of the current legal dispute is the timing of the decision by then acting National Director of Public Prosecutions, Mokotedi Mpshe, to institute fresh charges against Zuma in 2007.

Zuma, at the time, was involved in a leadership struggle with then president Thabo Mbeki.

Mpshe in the end decided, presumably to avoid looking like he was meddling in politics, to postpone serving an indictment on Zuma until after the ANC's 2007 Polokwane conference.


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