When the Pietermaritzburg High Court dismissed former president Jacob Zuma’s application for a permanent stay of prosecution, it disregarded the incontrovertible evidence of political interference in his prosecution by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
This is what Zuma is arguing in his leave to appeal papers which he filed in the High Court on November 1.
He faces serious charges, 16 in total, including one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering, and 12 counts of fraud relating to 783 payments he allegedly received in connection with the controversial arms deal.
Zuma failed to convince a full bench – comprising judges Thoba Poyo-Dlwati, Bhekisisa Mnguni and Esther Steyn – that the court should grant him a permanent stay of prosecution.
Had he succeeded, it would have meant that he would be immune from the charges.
But the former president is not taking things lying down.
In his leave to appeal papers, he argued that: “The High Court ought to have found that on its own version the NPA submitted that there was unlawful political interference in the prosecution of Mr Zuma.”
The former president also argued in court papers that the court had ignored the evidence of the NPA in which the prosecutorial body conceded that its conduct had prejudiced his fair trial rights.
Zuma believed the court ought to have found that the NPA’s failure to charge him together with convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik was a violation of his fair trial.
Former National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) advocate Bulelani Ngcuka had previously explained in an affidavit why he took the decision not to prosecute Zuma alongside Shaik and French arms company Thales, News24 reported.
“I was not sure the NPA’s prospects of success were strong enough for a winnable case,” Ngcuka said in his affidavit which he filed in the High Court this year.
Zuma argued Ngcuka’s failure to charge him with Shaik for “incoherent reasons was roundly criticised by various courts except this High Court and violated the right to equality guaranteed in Section 9(1) of the Constitution”.
“The conduct of Mr Ngcuka in publicly announcing that there was evidence of a criminal conduct against Mr Zuma but that NPA would not win that case if they took it to court violated Mr Zuma’s rights in Section 9(1) of the Constitution.”
Zuma accused the court of ignoring or downplaying the constitutional prejudice which he said he suffered.
He added the delay had prejudiced and violated his constitutionally guaranteed rights.
“The court misfocused on the gist of the application and adopted a sanitised version of facts biased against Mr Zuma and aimed at assisting the NPA’s violation of Mr Zuma’s constitutional rights.”