Former South African leader Thabo Mbeki, is fighting back. Less than 24 hours after he publicly announced his resignation, he has asked South Africa’s highest court for the right to urgently challenge the ruling that quashed ANC president Jacob Zuma’s prosecution and led to his political downfall.
Today, reports from South Africa says in papers filed at the Constitutional Court and served on Zuma and acting prosecuting head Mokotedi Mpshe on Monday, Mbeki states: “It is unfair and unjust for me to be judged and condemned on the basis of the findings in the Zuma matter. The interests of justice, in my respectful submission, would demand that the matter be rectified.”
He also revealed that his cabinet had decided to seek to appeal against Judge Chris Nicholson’s findings that there was “merit” to Zuma’s belief that his prosecution was politically driven.
Its is understood that Mbeki claims that Judge Nicholson’s multiple and “vexatious, scandalous and prejudicial” findings against him had effectively cost him his job, and damaged his good name and reputation, without the judge, or “most importantly the general public”, ever hearing his side of the story.
This, Mbeki says, is a clear violation of his constitutional rights and those of current and former justice ministers Brigitte Mabandla and Penuell Maduna respectively, who Judge Nicholson suggested had improperly interfered with the National Prosecuting Authority’s work.
“These adverse finding have led to my being recalled by my political party, the ANC – a request I have acceded to as a committed and loyal member of the ANC for the past 52 years, much as the untested allegations relied on by (Judge Nicholson) have already caused irreparable harm to my integrity and to the standing of the office I occupy… I fear that if not rectified, I might suffer further prejudice,” he said.
Mbeki began preparing his legal challenge last week, prior to his being recalled as president. The application has been prepared by the Johannesburg State Attorney’s office, reports say.
He added that there was a “real possibility that persons with malicious intent could act” on the judge’s ruling to the detriment of the Presidency, his cabinet and him personally.
“Unless the errors in the judgment are rectified immediately by means of a judgment, I will continue to suffer and may even suffer great harm,” he said.
Pointing out that Zuma’s application before the Pietermaritzburg High Court was mainly concerned with the NPA’s failure to seek his representations before recharging him, Mbeki said it was “not necessary” for the judge “to make the findings I am appealing against”.