President Jacob Zuma. Picture: REUTERS
President Jacob Zuma. Picture: REUTERS

After more than eight years of legal battles, President Jacob Zuma should know on Friday whether he must face 783 corruption charges and if so how soon.

The Supreme Court of Appeal is expected to dismiss the appeal by Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) application for leave to appeal against the ruling by the High Court in Pretoria that the charges be reinstated.

In the course of the appeal, Zuma made a stunning last-minute concession that the 2009 decision to drop the charges was irrational.

Zuma wants an opportunity to make fresh submissions to NPA head Shaun Abrahams.

This could delay the case further and put the decision on whether he is to face the charges in the hands of Abrahams, whom many regard as bent on protecting Zuma.

Zuma’s argument is that if the decision to drop the charges was irrational, someone should now make a rational decision.

His counsel, Kemp J Kemp, asked the Supreme Court of Appeal last month to direct the NPA on what should follow from a procedural perspective in the event of the high court judgment being upheld.

In April 2009, then acting national director of public prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe dropped the corruption charges based on what became known as the spy tapes, which allegedly showed political interference in the decision. The NPA argued that determining the date for the serving of an indictment on Zuma was politically motivated.

The DA, which initiated court action to have the charges reinstated, said it was time for Zuma to face the courts.

If, in spite of the appeal court judgment, he did not, the party was prepared to continue with the legal fight.

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