SCA upholds reinstating 783 corruption charges against Zuma

The decision to charge president lies with the NPA.
NPA has to decide whether to reinstate corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Moneyweb

South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal on Friday upheld a High Court ruling to reinstate hundreds of corruption charges filed against Jacob Zuma before he became president.

Zuma said he was “disappointed” by the court’s decision, adding in a statement that he expects the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to consider unspecified representations on the case before deciding whether to prosecute him.

The head of the prosecuting authority at the time set aside the charges in April 2009, paving the way for Zuma — who has faced and denied numerous corruption allegations made since then — to run for president later that year. But the High Court ruled in April 2016 that the charges should be reinstated.

Rejecting an appeal against that decision brought by Zuma and the NPA, Supreme Court Judge Lorimer Leach said it was “irrational” for the NPA to have set the charges aside — the same word used by the High Court.

“It is difficult to understand why the present regime at the NPA considered that the decision to terminate the prosecution could be defended,” Leach said, outlining the unanimous ruling.

The NPA must now decide whether to reinstate the charges, which relate to a 30 billion rand ($2 billion) government arms deal arranged in the late 1990s. It was unclear when such a decision might be taken.

NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku said prosecutors would need to consider the judgement but would “at all times do the right thing within the confines of the rule of law and in the interest of proper administration of justice”.

The rand extended gains against the dollar after the Supreme Court decision.


Rand performance


Zuma has faced corruption allegations since taking office, most recently over leaked emails that suggest his friends the Gupta family may have used their influence to secure lucrative state contracts for their companies.

Reuters has not independently verified the emails, and Zuma and the Guptas have consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Mmusi Maimane, leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance, said he would write to the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, to demand he indict Zuma.

“The charges have been formulated and the evidence is ready. We now await a trial date,” Maimane told reporters.

Asked by reporters whether Zuma should resign, the African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the party would allow that process to take its course.

“The first thing is whether the NPA will decide to charge the president,” he said. “You’re putting the cart before the horse.”

Analysts said the ruling could diminish Zuma’s influence over which candidate the ANC chooses to succeed him as leader at a conference in December. The 75-year-old can remain as state president until 2019.

“It is going to make it a lot more difficult for his camp to get their presidential candidate elected,” said Gary van Staden, political analyst with NKC African Economics.

Spy tapes

National prosecutor Mokotedi Mpshe’s decision in 2009 to drop the 783 charges against Zuma in what has become known as the Spy Tapes case was based on phone intercepts presented by Zuma’s legal team. They suggested the timing of the charges in late 2007 may have been part of a political plot to stop the then deputy president running for the top job.

Zuma was linked to the 1990s arms deal through his former financial adviser, who was jailed for corruption.

Analysts said the credibility of Zuma and the NPA were in question after the ruling, and one lawyer, Ulrich Roux, who speaks to media as a legal analyst, said “a private prosecution could be instituted” if charges are not brought.

Calls for Zuma to step down have increased since he removed Pravin Gordhan as finance minister in March, which hit South African financial assets and helped tip its credit ratings into “junk” territory.


Sort by:
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Top voted

You must be signed in and an Insider Gold subscriber to comment.


Great! No 1 Clueless’ days are numbered now! I’m just hoping that this will expose his corrupt Clan as well and that this will be an example for all leaders of South Africa that they will learn that a leader is their to serve their people with integrity and honesty.

I do not know if this is good news. No. 1 is many things..but firstly a survivor and a master strategist for himself. This could cause major disruptions in the ANC which appears fine, prima facie, but KZN is not a spot where you want the locals divided.

what happens next depends on NPA, not the courts anymore. We all know the NPA is one of the captured institutions…NOTHING will happen to Zuma

He is miles ahead of us on this one, even if the charges are reinstated it will all fizzle out. dockets will be missing, witnesses dead, murdered or have contracted ANC amnesia, 8 years later nothing.

I think Zupta will now just return to the days of Shaka Zulu, and flattens whatever comes in his way!

Methinks, only KPMG’s ”van Heerden’s” evidence that could be overturned can save Zupta.

Was this van Heerden doing audits at Volkskas Merchant Bank in the late eighties?..methinks he did!

public revolt, disobedience, chaos….a socioeconomic bloodbath is what lies ahead for us.

Resulting in state of emergency, no elections and looter for life.

What you must understand about African Politics is that most African Presidents consider themselves Royalty (a Kgosi), many of them are descendents of Royal blood. They consider themselves by default to be above the law, in fact they feel that they are entitled to make and change the law as they feel. This ruling is merely an inconvenience and does not even feature on Zuma’s radar. He really believes that he has done nothing wrong, whatever he has done he justifies as being his birthright.

absolutely correct…….they all believe that they are doing nothing wrong. Also, we want them to rule according to western standards….will never happen.

Hundreds of Corruption charges!!!

And they allowed him to become President???

No wonder the country is in the mess it is now. It will take 100 years to fix his mess.
And it is not over yet, he is still in power!

Politicians are plundering the state resources, state departments are in disarray.

SAA, SABC, PetroSA, ESKOM are all a disaster of note.
Government officials without much experience or and education are multi-millionaires, how?

Citizens have to rely on themselves for nearly everything!

Surely the real problem is that this zuma fellow was re-re – elected by the majority of voters despite the evidence of him being who he is. Is the problem Mr Zuma or the median south African voter?

Spot on observation!

The problem is that Zuma is the AUTHENTIC representative of his voters, which is why, even if he were to be magically replaced, it would not be long before a similar ethically-challenged individual rose to the fore.

Exact same problem also exists at the EFF.

No one wanted a NANNY STATE – saw it as very boring – so this is what we got. Very Exciting, Never a Dull Moment, Very Dynamic – MOST CERTAINLY NOT A WELL FUNCTIONING NANNY STATE, OH NO!!! WHY, OH WHY, WOULD WE WANT THAT!!!!!!!!!

Ja no well fine – the NPA is captured so nothing will happen. Meanwhile -MISSING PERSON ALERT = Missing in action – Shawn the Sheep – Might have died from Foot in Mouth disease

Do’nt get your hopes up on getting JZ into court . he is the master of duck n dive –
even after stating a few years back that he wanted his day in court.
those around him including Squirrel know that if he goes down they go down
Chomp chomp ,schlurp schlurp – the face may change but the gravy keeps flowing

Only in South Africa will authorities came after you for a traffic violation yet think of giving a destructive, corrupt President, with 783 charges against him, a ‘get out of jail’ free card. NPA prove me wrong.

Shaun the Sheep is busy hiding under the bed, awaiting instructions from Saxonwold.

End of comments.



Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Moneyweb newsletters

Instrument Details  

You do not have any portfolios, please create one here.
You do not have an alert portfolio, please create one here.

Follow us:

Search Articles:
Click a Company: