After eight years of investigation and court battles costing at least R100-million, moves are afoot to drop the criminal charges against Jacob Zuma.

The Star has been reliably informed that top-ranking National Prosecuting Authority officials intend to withdraw the 16 charges against the ANC president and are in the course of formulating how this process would be "managed".

Sources say the main reason advanced is that the prosecution does not have "a winnable case".

A crucial meeting of NPA staff central to the case was scheduled for today to discuss the matter.

But while the mooted withdrawal of the case against Zuma has been confirmed by several sources, NPA spokesperson Tlali Tlali yesterday told The Star that no decision had been finalised.

"The NPA is applying its mind in this regard, and once a decision to forge ahead has been taken, the NPA will communicate to Mr Zuma's lawyers.

"The National Director of Public Prosecutions would like to reiterate that no communiqué carrying such a message has been sent from the NPA to Mr Zuma's lawyers."

Zuma's lawyer, Michael Hulley, yesterday said no decision had been communicated to him.

A source within Zuma's legal team has, however, communicated their dissatisfaction about leaks on the withdrawal of the charges, blaming them on an unidentified prosecutor "who wants to mess with the process".

Zuma's lawyers filed substantial submissions with the NPA last month, in which they argued for all charges to be dropped.

Two separate sources said the team returned upbeat and were of the opinion that it was favourably considered.

A reliable source confirmed yesterday that senior ANC leaders were aware that the "decision is coming" - a move that would boost the party's election campaign.

Meanwhile, Zuma's Mauritian legal team were due to appear today in the Mauritian Supreme Court, where they seek to challenge a ruling stopping Zuma from intervening in the NPA's efforts to obtain potential evidence against him.

Zuma wants to argue that Mauritian authorities should not hand over the originals of more than a dozen documents used to convict his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, of fraud and corruption to the NPA because they would be used in a politically motivated trial.

No NPA officials were to attend today's Mauritian hearing.

Today's meeting of the Zuma prosecuting team comes after Zuma's corruption co-accused, French arms company Thint, this week applied for a permanent stay of the prosecution against it.

In the application, former Thint regional head Alain Thetard - the author of the infamous "encrypted fax" that implicated Zuma in corruption - categorically stated that he would never testify in the ANC president's trial.

The Thint application also included allegations that former justice minister Penuell Maduna had been party to promises that all charges would be permanently withdrawn against Thint.

This was further reinforced by the fact that Maduna, after leaving public office and becoming a private attorney, had agreed to act for the Thint companies when they were about to be charged again.