Firstly I have to applaud the ANC (African National Congress) for once they didn’t give names to Judges, as we all know what they’ve been saying in the past whenever a court ruled against them. This time around they gave the judges the respect that they deserve and ‘accepted’ the ruling; I wish I could say the same for Jacob Zuma who might be contesting the outcome.
Based on SCA ruling which I find to be pretty professional leaving no room for questions as the judges focussed squarely on their job and not the SA politics therefore leaving no room for accusations and less room for grounds to appeal the ruling.
Firstly the 5 Judges made clear (through the mouth of Judge Harms) their displeasure at the political comments made by Judge Nicholson when he delivered his ruling which went against the NPA for charging Jacob Zuma without affording him an opportunity to make representations. The judges made it clear that the matter that was brought before Judge Nicholson did not require political nosiness, “he (Judge Nicholson) took his eyes off the ball and red carded not only the players but the spectators” as well. Judge Harms further added that “Judgement by Ambush is not permitted” that is, findings based on “unconfirmed newspaper speculations” in the process overstepping the limits of the “court below” therefore “transgressing the proper boundaries” between executive and judiciary. These matters are not matters of law. They are purely political questions. “Whether or not one agrees with the judges sentiments is of no consequence, …the point is that those personal sentiments … were unwarranted.”
Secondly their ruling on Thabo Mbeki’s request to be part of the case (The application to join as an Amicus Curiae) was “refused”.
The judges made it clear that the ruling had nothing to do with whether Jacob Zuma is guilty or not but has to do with a procedure that is, did Zuma have a right to make representations before being charged. In this matter the judges ruled in the NPA’s favour thereby clearing the way for NPA to continue with its charges against Jacob Zuma.
There’s a perception that NPA is expected to recharge Jacob Zuma, this is not right because the case against Jacob Zuma was not withdrawn but set aside, this means that Jacob Zuma is still charged and that automatically the parties should be setting a date to meet, where they will be discussing a mutual date to got to court (subject to Jacob Zuma not appealing the 5 Judges’ ruling).
What are the options for Jacob Zuma?
Firstly he can appeal the ruling at Constitutional court, however at this point I don’t think the court will rule otherwise (but I’m not legal expert).
Secondly he may negotiate a settlement with NPA; this I believe will include a jail sentence considering that the NPA also wants to prove a point.
A very long short will be to win the elections with a 2/3 majority and change the constitution to not allow a seating president to be prosecuted.
As for the option of a permanent stay in prosecution a friend had this to say,
I don’t think a permanent stay of prosecution is the answer. You need to understand that we have a Constitution to protect here. South Africa is country that prides itself on the values as enshrined in the Constitution. We cannot let Zuma go simply because we are afraid of what his supporters will do. If we are going to let Zuma go we will be sending a wrong information not only to other people accused of crime but to the world and that will do wonders for our economy. We cannot be intimidated by a bunch of people who think they can run a country like they run their households. You may say this is not realistic but just think of the effect this will have on us. The eyes are on us, everyone is waiting to see the outcome of this thing. They can fight and even kill people, it will still not change the fact that Zuma (must be brought to book). We cannot have people thinking they are above the law. If the prosecution is stayed, then this [is] exactly what will be happening. Read the full 155 page judgement click here