The NDPP's appeal against judge Nicholson's judgement in the Jacob Zuma case has been granted by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) and Jacob Zuma can be charged by the NPA again. In arrieving at their decision the SCA was scathing, .....no, was contemptious (ba monyetse) of the decision reached by Nicholson. The SCA basically found that the judge's decision had no basis in law, procedure, accepted conduct from judicial officers and had no logic at all. His decision basically transgressed all accepted procedures and principles in adjudicating legal issues.
This is summed up neatly by analogy at paragraph 13 of the judgement that "the trial judge recognised, ‘political meddling’ was not an issue that had to be determined (para 229 of his judgment). Nevertheless, a substantial part of his judgment dealt with this question; and in the course of this discussion he changed the rules of the game, took his eyes off the ball and redcarded not only players but also spectators." (emphasis mine). What the SCA seem to be saying in this regard is: Is this guy stupid or what? Can a person really be this stupid to contradict himself and kick all the rules of common sense out of the window?
The court went even further to remind judge Nicholson what his duties ought to be. But before doing that they went for his jugular and said "It is crucial to provide an exposition of the functions of a judicial officer because, for reasons that are impossible to fathom, the court below failed to adhere to some basic tenets, in particular that in exercising the judicial function judges are themselves constrained by the law."What this seem to be saying is: Is this guy really a judge? Can a judge of his seniority and experience really not know what procedures and practices need to be followed in dealing with this matters? What drove this guy to come to such a decision?
On lessons on how to conduct motion proceedings the court stated that the judge has "applied a novel approach to motion proceedings which, if left undisturbed, may serve as a dangerous precedent." This means that he has departed from established and accepted practice and came up with his new (read kak!) approach that is dangerous for the legal practice and has never been heard of. The judgment is fairly long and the major part tears into judge Nicholson's conduct and his bizarre ruling, Counsel for Zuma is not spared either. The court has said that judge Nicholson instead of deciding on the legal issues before him went on about his "own conspiracy theory" and decided on issues "not.... advanced by Mr Zuma."
What one is left thinking is what was this "sober" judge thinking. Sober comes from the pronouncements by the ANC that this was a sober judge and judges of the constitutional court are counter revolutionary. And Malema went on to say that judges of the constitutional court make their decisions in shebeens (we know that shebeen refers to a drinking hole in the townships patronised by blacks). You draw your own conclusions...
Zuma's options of using every available legal avenue to quash the charges are getting slimmer by the day. Only those 'counter revolutionary judges' in the constitutional court are remaining now and one supposed that Zuma is going to apply for their recusal when he appeals the SCA decision. The only other way is for him to change the law when he becomes president
(if he becomes president) but with COPE on the horizon they will not have the requisite majority to change the law.
Zuma might be the presidential candidate for the ANC but with COPE on the horizon it is interesting to contemplate whether the ANC will garner the sufficient majority to elect him the president of the country.
In my final analysis the decision of the "sober" judge are coming to haunt the ANC in a very significant way. In his solomonic wisdom of trying to decide for the natives, the sober judge was very drunk in his soberness. Even if a political solution is found for these charges that won't go away the "sober" one has made it even more difficult for the "anointed" one to ascend that throne.