NPA confirms correspondence from Zuma's lawyers
Lawyers for African National Congress (ANC) leader Jacob Zuma have sent a letter to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) declaring their intention to make representations in his graft case, the NPA confirmed on Tuesday.
NPA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said it received the correspondence from Zuma’s lawyers following a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgement in favour of the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) on Monday.
“We have received correspondence from Mr Zuma’s lawyers where they have declared an intention to make representations,” said Tlali.
“We have since said we will consider the representations as and when they make it to us.”
On Monday the SCA ruled that there was no legal obligation on the NDPP’s part to invite Zuma to make representations in his fraud and corruption case.
Its ruling overturned part of Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Chris Nicholson’s judgement that was handed down in September 2008 and which effectively halted Zuma’s prosecution.
The SCA also criticised Nicholson’s references to possible political meddling in the decision to re-charge Zuma, saying he overstepped his mark in making those findings and failed to confine his judgement to the issues before the court.
The Star newspaper reported on Tuesday that Zuma is now faced with five possible options: to refer the SCA decision to the Constitutional Court; a stay of prosecution, where the NPA would halt proceedings against the ANC leader after consultation; to take his chances and go to court to face the music; the Chirac solution, where Parliament amends the Constitution to prevent the prosecution of a sitting president until he leaves office; or to cut a deal with the NPA.
The paper also reported that, according to justice sources, Zuma’s prosecutors were concerned about the prospect of Nicholson continuing with the case.
Tlali told the paper that the issue of whether to bring an application seeking Nicholson’s recusal from his position as trial judge might come under consideration when Zuma’s prosecuting team meets later this week.
Zuma was charged in 2005, but the case was struck from the roll in 2006.
He was then re-charged for fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering in December 2007.
In September 2008 Nicholson declared invalid the NPA decision to recharge Zuma.
Decision not entirely to blame for rand’s woes
Meanwhile, RMB currency research said on Tuesday that while the continued prosecution of Zuma would be a negative for the rand, this was only partially the reason for the currency’s woes.
“The Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision to allow the NPA to continue prosecuting Jacob Zuma took the market a little by surprise, generating a negative response of a few cents,” RMB said in a currency update.
“Certainly that the charges will still be outstanding against a sitting president will be a negative but more important is the largely unrelated unease over a possible shift to the left after the elections,” RMB added.
However, RMB warned that one should be careful not to overplay these concerns as international investors, it said, were very used to political risk in emerging markets.
“Quite honestly, we have bigger issues to worry about,” RMB said.
The key issue for the rand remained the global markets.
With the United States dollar under pressure, commodities sinking rapidly and fresh concerns over the US banking sector profitability, the pressure was for upside on US dollar/rand, RMB said.
“With movements in excess of other currencies, some pullback to 10,00 is possible but the risks remain to the upside,” RMB said.
According to RMB, event risk was expected from US trade data early on Tuesday afternoon.
“Remember here that the global economic slump and curtailment on trade finance have thrown these numbers around globally and so we could get a real surprise,” RMB said.
It added that Wednesday and Thursday were expected to be very volatile given the international data and events calendar.
At 8.30 am the rand was trading at 10,13 to the US dollar..