Ruling absolves me, says Mbeki

Ido Lekota and Sapa

Ido Lekota and Sapa

Former president Thabo Mbeki has welcomed the supreme court of appeal ruling that there was no evidence to suggest that he had interfered in the National Prosecuting Authority's decision to recharge ANC president Jacob Zuma.

In his ruling last year Judge Chris Nicholson suggested that Mbeki and the then justice minister Penuell Maduna could have "politically interfered" in the decision to charge Zuma.

The ANC fired Mbeki after Nicholson's ruling.

On Monday the SCA overturned Nicholson's ruling.

It also found that the suggestion that Mbeki had politically interfered in the charging of Zuma was "gratuitous and based on suspicion and not on fact".

Mbeki, in a statement, said yesterday: "I welcome and accept the determinations made by the SCA that Judge Nicholson had no facts before him to suggest that I and the cabinet interfered with the NPA in its consideration of matters relating to Mr Jacob Zuma."

Meanwhile, NPA spokesman Tlali Tlali said yesterday: "We have received correspondence from Mr Zuma's lawyers where they have declared an intention to make representations," said .

Zuma was charged in 2005 but the case was struck from the roll in 2006.

He was then re-charged for fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering in December 2007.

Opposition parties have made mileage out of Monday's ruling.

DA leader Hellen Zille has also called on Zuma to step aside as a presidential candidate in this year's national elections.

Cope deputy president Mbhazima Shilowa said the decision has shown "that the ANC failed to provide mature political leadership and has set a very dangerous precedent - in which a sitting head of state could be removed at any time depending on the whim and mood of the party's executive committee".

The ANC remains adamant that Zuma will still stand as their presidential candidate.