The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) decision to appeal the Pietermaritzburg High Court ruling on ANC president Jacob Zuma shows the NPA takes its duty to the public seriously, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille said on Wednesday.
“The DA notes the decision by the NPA to appeal the judgment in the Pietermaritzburg High Court that Jacob Zuma’s prosecution was invalid.
“If there is a prima facie case against Jacob Zuma, the NPA is legally bound to explore every legal avenue to ensure justice is done,” she said.
Judge Chris Nicholson noted in his judgment on Friday that the NPA had a duty to prosecute if it had a compelling prima facie case against the accused. There had been repeated statements that such a case existed against Zuma.
“Any suggestion that the decision to appeal is a cynical move must be rejected with contempt. On the contrary, it shows that the NPA takes its duty to the South African public seriously and that it won’t be intimidated by Zuma and his acolytes,” Zille said. Zuma had instituted every possible appeal and delaying mechanism “to avoid his day in court”.
It was disingenuous now for the ANC to criticise the NPA for appealing this judgment. “The Zuma camp’s jubilation has been premature. Judge Nicholson’s judgment was not a vindication or an acquittal of Jacob Zuma.
“There is a large cloud over Jacob Zuma’s head. As he has repeatedly stated, he needs to defend himself in a court of law where the evidence can be presented.
“It is therefore in the interest of all South Africans that he withdraws his candidature for the Presidency until his guilt or innocence has been established in court,” Zille said.
Independent Democrat (ID) president Patricia de Lille said her party respected the decision of the NPA to appeal. “A fair trial includes the right to appeal. The NPA was the respondent in this matter and therefore they have got the right to appeal.”
The ID Leader has also challenged the ANC “to support Cosatu’s call for a full judicial inquiry into the Arms Deal.”
Freedom Front Plus (FF+) leader Pieter Mulder said the fresh move was “too little too late”.
“Judge Nicholson stated in his judgment that the NPAuthority had not followed the correct procedures in charging Zuma on 16 counts of corruption and fraud. Regardless of what the NPA now does with its appeal, it will unfortunately not be concluded before Zuma is elected as president by April next year”, Mulder said.