South Africa's appeals court will
decide Monday whether or not to grant the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)
the legal maneuver to prosecute the president of the ruling party on graft
charges. This comes after a high court judge last September threw out the
corruption case against African National Congress (ANC) leader Jacob Zuma
citing political manipulation. But the NPA appealed the high court ruling that
it had not followed proper procedures in charging Zuma. The NPA also described
remarks made by the high court judge, which suggested political interference in
the graft charges, as out of place. From the capital, Pretoria, constitutional
law expert Professor Shadrak Gutto tells reporter Peter Clottey that the ruling
would be significant in possibly changing the political landscape.
Supreme Court of Appeal is going to rule on an application that was made on an
appeal by the National Prosecuting Authority against the judgment of a high
court judge who had made a ruling that the National Prosecuting Authority did
not follow the proper procedure in charging Jacob Zuma or in making a decision
to charge him with of course corruption and so on. And this is because the
National Prosecuting Authority did not give him (Zuma) an opportunity to make
what the constitution calls representation," Professor Gutto said.
said today's ruling could possibly have an impact on the upcoming general
is the real day when we have to hear the judgment. And if of course they decide
in favor of the National Prosecuting Authority, then it sets in motion the fact
that Jacob Zuma may very well be charged and trial may begin," he said.
Gutto said if the ruling goes against the NPA, then Zuma's legal trouble would
us assume that the Supreme Court of Appeal rules against the National
Prosecuting Authority. What will happen then is of course the National
Prosecuting Authority will appeal to the constitutional court. And one expects
the constitutional court to hear the matter and decide and dispense with it as
soon as possible because we are going towards elections in April, and it is
important for these things to be sorted out," Professor Gutto noted.
said a ruling against Zuma today could worsen his legal troubles even if he
wins the April general election.
the ruling is one which is in favor of the National Prosecuting Authority, then
it is even more serious because I believe that the ruling party, the African
National Congress, would have to think seriously whether they put up Jacob Zuma
as their candidate for the presidency in the coming election in April," he
Gutto said the ruling party would have to rescind its decision to maintain Zuma
as presidential candidate in April's general election if today's ruling favors
the National Prosecuting Authority.
have also heard statements from the same African National Congress indicating
that they have started talking to the prosecuting authority to try and find
some other solutions to the problem because they realize that it is a real big
hindrance. So they do realize on the other hand for political posturing, it is
quite easy to say that they will not change their mind in terms of who is to
lead the party," Professor Gutto noted.
who is the presidential candidate of the ruling ANC, is expected to win South
Africa's April general election.