Zuma files appeal papers against reinstatement of corruption charges

He says the High Court was wrong to find the head of the NPA is not entitled to stop a prosecution.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has filed his own appeal against the reinstatement of corruption charges against him, arguing the High Court was wrong to find former acting National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Mokotedi Mpshe acted secretly and disingenuously.

Yesterday, NPA head Shaun Abrahams confirmed he had decided to appeal the High Court in Pretoria ruling that Zuma must face corruption charges stemming from the conviction of Schabir Shaik.

In 2009, Mpshe said he was withdrawing the charges because of conversations between former NPA officials about when to formal charge Zuma.

In his legal papers, President Zuma says the High Court was wrong to find the head of the NPA is not entitled to stop a prosecution because of prosecutorial misconduct.

He also says it's wrong for the courts to make that decision and that it should be left up to the NPA.

Zuma added the court should not have found that Mpshe made the decision because he was acting out of emotion after feeling betrayed.

He says that if the High Court was going to find the decision to withdraw the charges was wrong, it should simply have referred the matter back to the NPA and not actually reinstated the charges.

Zuma's decision to appeal this case means that his lawyers will be joining the NPA if the case is argued in Bloemfontein.

Yesterday, the prosecutions boss was questioned why, if he considers the issues of such constitutional importance, he hadn't approached the highest court of the land directly.

"We did consider the approach of direct access with the Constitutional Court, but we felt this is a matter of such significance and importance that we must show confidence in the Supreme Court of Appeal, and that's why we have adopted this route."

He said there was never any intent to delay the matter.

"It's the furthest consideration; in fact, it didn't even come into consideration at all."

At the same time, the NPA advanced six grounds on which it will appeal the court's decision.

Last month, the High Court in Pretoria ruled that Mpshe's decision was irrational.

The NPA's main argument is that the court's ruling undermines the legally protected discretion afforded to prosecutors to decide whether or not to prosecute on a particular matter.

Advocate Abrahams added that the head of the prosecuting authority would be best placed to determine whether specific conduct constitutes an abuse of process, not the courts.

He says he consulted widely before reaching his decision, but declined to divulge who he consulted with.

"I did not consult Advocate Billy Downer SC, nor any other member of the prosecuting team. I didn't think I needed to do so. I don't have to disclose to any person or to the public which legal counsel or which members in the NPA I consulted with, I think that's absolutely improper."

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