Two court battles loom for Zuma this week

President Jacob Zuma finds himself in two significant court battles this week in two different courts.

President Jacob Zuma finds himself in two significant court battles this week in two different courts.
 
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the president will be in the Pretoria High Court to challenge former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report on state capture, while Thursday and Friday will see him fight the North Gauteng High Court’s April 2016 ruling that the 783 charges against him for alleged corruption be reinstated in the Supreme Court of Appeal.
 
The first of Zuma's two big court battles revolves around his decision to take the former Public Protector's report and recommendations on review.
 
In the "State of Capture" report, Madonsela recommended that a commission of inquiry be formed to further investigate the siphoning of state resources to politically connected businessmen and that it be led by a judge appointed by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. Madonsela gave the president 30 days in which to appoint the commission, which he failed to do. The Democratic Alliance (DA) then took the president to court to force him to implement the recommendations.
 
The president has however differed with Madonsela's directive, arguing that according to the Constitution, he alone has the right to appoint the head of a judicial commission.
 
This was taken into account by Madonsela where she acknowledged his powers in this regard, but used his own words against him. During the Nkandla court case, the president argued that he could not be "accused of being judge and jury in my own case", thus leaving the Chief Justice the one to appoint the head of the inquiry.
 
The president responded to the DA's court application in June, arguing for a stay on implementing the report pending the outcome of a review. In his arguments for a review, the president said that he was not forced to comply with a report from the Public Protector if he had reason to doubt it.
 
"To do so will amount to a mechanical response; this is irreconcilable with the logic and rights exercisable by a person adversely affected by such a determination."
 
In the second case, the president and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will be appealing to the Supreme Court to overturn the North Gauteng High Court's ruling that he "should face the charges as outlined in the indictment".
 
That ruling has made the possibility of prosecution, which has haunted the president during his two terms in office, more likely.
 
The DA, who has been fighting to have the NPA decision to drop the charges against Zuma overturned for the last eight years, welcomed the court's decision to hear the matter simultaneously.
 
The party's James Selfe pointed out that although the appeal will be heard at the end of the week, it does not necessarily mean the end of the case. Should the president and the NPA lose, he predicted that they would appeal the decision in the Constitutional Court.
 
But, Selfe said, this would be Zuma's last legal resort and should it be used as delaying tactic, would only buy him a few extra months rather than years, due the court's relatively short turnaround time.

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