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S v Zuma and Another; Thales South Africa (Pty) Limited v KwaZulu-Natal Director of Public Prosecutions and Others (CCD30/18, D12763/18) [2019] ZAKZPHC 76

3rd December 2019

Click here to read the full judgment on Saflii

[1]     Before us for decision, are two applications for leave to appeal against the judgment and orders we made on 11 October 2019, firstly dismissing Mr J. G. Zuma’s and Thales’ applications for permanent stay of prosecutions with costs and; secondly in Thales’ case only, dismissing its application for an order reviewing and setting aside the 2018 decision of Mr Shaun Abrahams, the former National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) to reinstate the prosecution against it.

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[2]     Mr Zuma seeks leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal (the SCA) on the grounds embodied in his notice of appeal dated 1 November 2019. We shall refrain from repeating them in great detail except in so far as it may be necessary for the purposes of this judgment. We have classified them into three categories. The first entailed the constitution of the court hearing the application for permanent stay. The complaint in this regard was that it was an irregularity for the criminal trial to be reconstituted and the application to be heard as a civil trial by a Full Court of the High Court as this was contrary to the provisions of ss 110(2) and 145 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (the Act). The contention was that the application should have been heard before a criminal court constituted as such to conduct Mr Zuma’s criminal trial. Consequently, so the contention goes, the Full Court had no jurisdiction to conduct a criminal trial including interlocutory applications brought before a criminal court to determine whether there was a legal or factual basis on which the prosecution of Mr Zuma before that trial court should be permanently stayed. Ultimately, the contention is that this constituted a gross irregularity warranting the setting aside of the proceedings. 

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