High Court set to rule on so-called ‘Spy Tapes’ case

The court will rule on whether a decision to withdraw corruption charges against President Zuma was rational.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma.Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - The High Court in Pretoria will today rule on whether the seven-year-old decision to withdraw corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma was rational and whether that decision should be set aside.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) brought the application to the court last month, which was heard by a full bench led by Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba.

Former prosecutions boss Mokotedi Mpshe withdrew the charges in 2009 after considering representations from Zuma.

They 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.

The DA's advocate Sean Rosenberg argued that it was irrational to withdraw the charges against Zuma.

"If regard is had to the seriousness of the charges, has regard to the policy consideration, the crimes of this magnitude must be seen to be prosecuted."

He says Mpshe failed to take into account the strength of the case against Zuma.

"It was an impulsive, emotional decision. A decision which we say by its very nature was an irrational decision."

Zuma's advocate Kemp J Kempsays the decision to prosecute was an abuse of power.

"These powers are now blatantly used to try and decisively influence the outcome of the presidential elections."

Kemp continued to argue that Mpshe demonstrated that he was intolerant of abuse of power.

"What Mr Mpshe is saying is, if you use their powers to engineer political results, we won't prosecute him."

Irrespective of which way the court rules, it's understood either party will take the matter the Supreme Court of Appeal.


When then National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)'s acting head made his announcement in 2009, he pointed out that his prosecuting team had done nothing wrong.

He said, "It does not matter that the team acted properly, honestly fairly and justly throughout."

At the time, the team wanted to continue with the case and believed a judge should decide whether now President Zuma was guilty of corruption.

The Constitutional Court had already decided Schabir Shaik was guilty of corruption because of the money he'd given to Zuma.

While whoever loses this case today is likely to appeal if charges against Zuma are reinstated, that could provide more ammunition to his opponents - both inside and outside of the African National Congress (ANC).