South Africa court dismisses Mbeki's appeal

EthiopianReview.com | November 13th, 2008

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – The Constitutional Court has dismissed ousted president Thabo Mbeki’s urgent application to oppose a high court ruling that ultimately cost him his job, reports said on Wednesday.

Eight Constitutional Court judges dismissed his application on Tuesday.

The judges ordered that it was “not in the interests of justice to hear [Mbeki's] application at this stage”.

This was because the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was in the process of appealing the same judgement in the Supreme Court of Appeal.

The NPA’s appeal will be heard on November 28.

Mbeki had wanted the Constitutional Court to scrap certain parts of the ruling handed down in the Pietermaritzburg High Court by Judge Chris Nicholson on September 12.

In his judgement, Nicholson said he could not exclude the possibility of political interference in the decision to re-charge Mbeki’s political rival and the new African National Congress president Jacob Zuma for fraud and corruption.

Mbeki said Nicholson’s judgement was related to the decision by the ruling party to remove him from office, about six months before his term would have ended.

Mbeki’s application was largely based on three points:

* That he had no chance to give evidence on the allegations of conspiracy in the Zuma trial;

* That he was recalled by the ANC on the basis of Nicholson’s “flawed” judgement; and

* That he has no standing in the high court or Supreme Court of Appeal because no judgement or order was made against him and is therefore seeking the indulgence of the Constitutional Court.

A senior Johannesburg advocate accused Mbeki of “going off sideways” while the NPA is still preparing its application for leave to appeal.

“But he also has another problem: what he [Mbeki] seems to be wanting to do is to review a high court judge. There is no such thing as reviewing high court judges and the courts have made it clear that you can only appeal orders. Very often judges say harsh things about all kinds of people, but I’m afraid you’ve got to take that on the chin.”

The advocate, speaking to the Mail & Guardian in September, described Mbeki’s application as “extraordinary” and “breathtaking”.

- SAPA