President Jacob Zuma File picture: Independent Media

Bloemfontein - President Jacob Zuma's protracted legal battle of close to ten years to avoid prosecution on charges that include corruption, racketeering, money laundering and fraud, continues in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein on Thursday.

The charges stem from Zuma allegedly receiving inducements to use his real or perceived political influence to affect the award of contracts for the 1999 acquisition of military equipment by the State to the value of R30 billion (the so-called "Arms Deal").

At the centre of the current legal dispute is the timing of the decision by the then acting National Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Mokotedi Mpshe, to institute fresh charges against Zuma in 2007. 

Following his indictment, Zuma and his legal team claimed the prosecution was influenced by political motives. To this end, they provided as evidence, copies of intercepted telephone conversations (the so-called "spy tapes") involving the head of the NPA's Directorate for Special Operations, Leonard McCarthy. 

The Democratic Alliance approached the courts to review Mpshe's decision, asking for it to be set aside on the basis of irrationality. In April last year, the North Gauteng High Court ruled in the DA's favour and refused Zuma and the NPA leave to appeal. Zuma and the NPA then approached the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), which granted them permission to present oral argument in their applications for leave to appeal.

Two days have been set aside by the Supreme Court of Appeal to hear the applications of Zuma and the NPA's representatives and the responses from those of the DA. Judgement is expected within a few weeks of the submissions in court.

 African News Agency