Experts: Zuma now faces criminal charges

Judges said that then acting NPA head’s decision in 2009 to withdraw the charges was irrational.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNEBSURG - Legal experts say today's High Court in Pretoria ruling that the decision to withdraw corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma means those charges have automatically been reinstated and thus the president of the country currently faces criminal charges.

But the African National Congress (ANC) and supporters of Zuma disagree, saying he'll only face criminal charges when and if the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) reinstates them.

Judges said earlier today that then acting NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe's decision in 2009 to withdraw the charges was irrational.

The ANC says the ruling was only about a legal technicality and that President Zuma doesn't actually currently face criminal charges.

But former Wits University law professor and now practicing Advocate James Grant says the clock has been turned back to the moment before Mpshe withdrew the charges and thus they've been reinstated.

At the same time, Advocate Vuyani Ngalwana SC has tweeted that when a court sets aside a decision as irrational, the decision that is set aside is restored.

When a court sets aside a decision as irrational, the status quo ante the decision tht is set aside is restored. https://t.co/6ijPSwMZBg

Meanwhile, it's emerged that a Supreme Court of Appeal judgment around Richard Mdluli said that the setting aside of the withdrawal of criminal charges have the effect that the charges are automatically reinstated.

LISTEN: High Court rules that NPA head's decision to drop criminal charges against Zuma was irrational

ANC NOTES THE JUDGMENT

As opposition parties claim that President Zuma must now resign to make sure the prosecution of his criminal charges is not interfered with, the ANC says it notes the judgment and that it did not deal with the merits of the case against him.

Speaking just after the judgment, Democratic Alliance(DA) leader Mmusi Maimane says they believe this decision means the president does currently face criminal charges.

"Our legal council holds that if the decision to discontinue was irrational, it must then be continued. Ultimately Jacob Zuma must have his day in court."

The ANC's Zizi Kodwa was asked if the party was proud to have Zuma as its leader.

"The issue is that we are dealing with a judgment and not about public perceptions and opinions."

The Economic Freedom Fighters say Zuma must not appeal this ruling because he's claimed that he wants his day in court.

LISTEN: EFF reacts to the high court judgement on Zuma

'ZUMA MUST NOW RESIGN'

Former Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has described today's spy tapes judgment as a great day for South Africa and says Zuma must now do the honorable thing - resign and face his charges in court.

Vavi says the ruling was not unexpected.

"Our judiciary has come to the party time in and time out to say South Africa is not a banana republic and no one is above the law. This is a great day for South Africa."

WATCH: Zuma set to have his day in court