Even as the high court in Pretoria was delivering a series of nasty blows to President Jacob Zuma in a judgment on Wednesday, his legal team filed an application to appeal his most immediate prior loss: the stripping of his power to appoint the head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
On Friday the court found that Zuma had acted improperly in the sequence of events that saw the departure of office from then national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) Mxolisi Nxasana. That, the court said, made the appointment of current NPA head Shaun Abrahams invalid — but because Zuma could face prosecution for corruption, he could not appoint the next NDPP.
Instead the court bestowed the power to appoint the NDPP on deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, for as long as Zuma is in office.
On Monday morning Zuma’s legal team said he would seek to appeal that decision on two grounds.
The court could not validly find that he was unable to perform his function as President in appointing an NDPP (because of his conflict) “yet able to perform his other functions as President”, said the application for leave to appeal.
The other ground is that Zuma, and Zuma alone, is President.
“The Court erred in law holding to be constitutionally permissible to have two president in the country at the same time and both exercising presidential powers,” reads the application.
Even as that application was in the process of being filed, the high court was in the process of delivering judgment in matters relating to state capture. In one judgment the court found Zuma had acted in an unconscionable matter, presenting arguments with no basis in fact or law and so undermining the work of the Public Protector.
In a separate judgment following immediately after, the court found that Zuma would be too conflicted to appoint a judge to head a state capture inquiry that would investigate him.