Zuma v Ramaphosa: NGO wants to join case as friend of court, targets NPA for alleged bias

In happier times, former president Jacob Zuma and current President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

In happier times, former president Jacob Zuma and current President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Published Jan 11, 2023


Durban - A non-governmental organisation (NGO) calling itself Blackhouse Kollective Foundation (BHK) wants to be allowed to join Thursday’s legal battle between former president Jacob Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa as a friend of the court (amicus curiae).

The NGO says it wrote to both warring parties asking if they have any qualms with it joining the battle and only Zuma’s legal team responded, expressing no objection, while Ramaphosa’s team never responded.

In the main, the little-known NGO seeks clarity regarding the role of the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) and the powers it has in issuing nolle prosequi (non-prosecution certificates) before any private prosecution could take place.

The NGO’s affidavit setting outs its application was done under oath by Zandisiwe Radebe who identified herself as its co-founder and chairperson.

“As an organisation that was formed to advance, support and defend constitutional principles and values, BHK has an interest in the determination of the competing rights enumerated above.

“If admitted as amicus, BHK’s submissions will include a discussion on the following  questions:

“Does the National Prosecuting Authority have a right or role to play (except for the role of the national director in terms of section 179(5)(d) of the Constitution and section 22(2)(c) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act (the NPA Act), and that of the director of public prosecutions in terms of section 13 of the NPA Act)  where it has issued a certificate nolle prosequi?” Radebe said in her affidavit to be tabled before the Johannesburg high court on Thursday.

In the case between Ramaphosa and Zuma where the incumbent president wants to set aside summons for private prosecution issued by the latter, the NGO says it appears that the NPA has already taken a side.

“BHK will argue that the facts of this case demonstrate that the requirement of a certificate nolle prosequi may serve as an impediment or unjustified limitation to the Section 34 right of access to courts, especially when the National Prosecuting Authority as in this case appears to have nailed its colours to the mast of the accused person in the form and shape of the president.

“The National Prosecuting Authority has failed to conduct itself without fear, favour or prejudice. On the contrary, it appears to have taken the side of the president and this is a major factor  (though not the only factor) that has moved BHK to intervene as amicus curiae,” she added.

The case between Ramaphosa and Zuma would be heard by a full Bench (three judges) on Thursday morning.

[email protected]

Current Affairs