The Supreme Court of Appeals (SCA) said Thursday that the delays in court in two cases involving former President Jacob Zuma were due to administrative challenges at the SCA’s headquarters.
The SCA , issued a statement through the Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) to clarify media reports relating to delays in the two cases.
The first issue concerns an appeal by Zuma against a ruling by the Supreme Court tribunal that overturned the decision of then National Commissioner of Correctional Services, Arthur Fraser, to grant him medical parole.
The second matter concerns a request for review by two judges Zuma’s motion for leave to appeal against a judgment of the Pietermaritzburg Higher Regional Court. The Supreme Court had dismissed a specific objection brought by Zuma, in which he claimed that the lead prosecutor representing the state, Billy Downer SC, “has no right to be charged” and “should be removed as prosecutor in this case.”
The SCA said in relation to the appeal, Mandisa Maya, Chair of the SCA, after considering the request for an expedited date for the appeal hearing, emailed the SCA’s former Registrar, Paul Myburgh, on March 11 February and asked him to inform the parties that she was willing to defer the appeal to the May 2022 hearing, when they would be ready to file the appeal record, and their respective arguments to enable her to provide the necessary instructions enacted
“The former registrar instead wrote to the parties that the appeal ‘cannot be upheld’,” the SCA said.
Regarding the request for reconsideration, the SCA said that Maya was seized on May 17 and not since March 2022, as was widely reported in the media.
The SCA said Maya processed the application expeditiously in accordance with court conventions and thereafter issued an order on May 20 dismissing the application.
“As explained to media representatives who took the time to inquire with Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) staff, the delays were a result of administrative challenges within the SCA General Office.
“It is extremely unfortunate that the delays in these two matters have been directly attributed to the President of the SCA, Justice Maya. Some reports suggest the delays were a deliberate act on their part. The facts in this regard do not support these claims.”
The SCA said that the OCJ, as administrative support to the judiciary, has identified the challenges related to these matters and is currently addressing any shortcomings in control measures and Processes within the General Office.
“The OCJ has assured President Maya that they will take the necessary corrective action to address the failures of its support staff.”
Meanwhile, the National Prosecutors said they welcomed the SCA ruling, which dismissed Zuma’s request for a reconsideration.
“We will now focus on ensuring that the trial on August 15.” will resume in 2022,” said NPA spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga.
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