‘Decision to drop corruption charges against Zuma was irrational’

The deputy judge president ruled the 2009 decision to discontinue corruption charges must be reviewed.

South African President Jacob Zuma during the State of the Nation Address in Cape Town, on 12 February 2015. Picture: EPA/Rodger Bosch/Pool.

JOHANNESBURG - The High Court in Pretoria has found the 2009 decision to drop corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma was irrational.

Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba has ruled the 2009 decision by former prosecutions boss Mokotedi Mpshe to discontinue corruption charges against Zuma must be reviewed.

He handed down judgment in the Democratic Alliance's (DA) application earlier today.

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Seven hundred and thirty eight charges against Zuma, which include fraud and racketeering, were dropped in 2009 by Mpshe after considering representations from Zuma.

"This court, for reasons stated above, finds that the decision of 1 April 2009 by Mr Mpshe to discontinue prosecution of the case against Mr Zuma is irrational and should be reviewed and set aside."

Zuma made representations, which included the secret recordings of former Scorpions head Leonard McCarthy which revealed he made political considerations when deciding on when to serve the indictment on Zuma.

Judge Ledwaba says in Mpshe's own words, he was angered by McCarthy's conduct.

"His feelings of anger and betrayal cost him to act impulsively and irrationally."

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The court was scathing of Mpshe's conduct.

"Considering the situation in which he found himself, Mr Mpshe ignored the importance of the oath of office, which demanded him to act independently and without fear and favour."

The DA has welcomed the ruling.

Meanwhile, the Presidency says Zuma has noted the decision and will give consideration to the judgement, its consequences and the remedies available in terms of the law.

The African National Congress (ANC) also says its noted today's judgment.

In a statement released shortly after the ruling, the party says it's important to note that the court did not deal with the merits of any allegations against President Zuma nor did it make any finding declaring guilt on any matter against him.

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