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The Supreme Court of Appeal's ruling in the Zuma case showed that the ANC had acted recklessly in recalling Thabo Mbeki as president, COPE said on Monday.
The party welcomed the SCA's scathing rejection of suggestions by Pietermaritzburg High Court judge Chris Nicholson in 2008 that Mbeki may have meddled in the case against his political rival.
"It is our view that the Judge Nicholson judgment had major political consequences for the country. What was tragic was the opportunistic way the ruling African National Congress leadership abused it to settle its internal political battles.
"The ruling party prematurely 'recalled' former president Thabo Mbeki ... and has set a very dangerous precedent in which a sitting head of state could be removed at any time depending on the whim and mood of the party's executive committee."
COPE said the corruption and fraud case against Jacob Zuma should proceed to trial without delay so that the ANC president could have his say in court.
COPE's Youth Movement said the SCA had asserted the independence of the judiciary by ruling that the state's case against Zuma can continue.
"We accept it as a true reflection of an independent judiciary," COPE's national youth convenor Anele Mda said in a statement.
"This is a victory for the people of South Africa." - Sapa