Press "Enter" to skip to content

Judge Nicholson leaves President Mbeki with no clothes on

The pronouncements relating to President Mbeki as made by Judge Nicholson in his judgment in the matter pertaining to the president of the ANC, Jacob Zuma, are serious and troubling. Judge Nicholson inferred in his judgment that there had been political interference in the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) case against the president of the ANC. The Judge makes inferences that insinuate and implicate the president of the Republic as having orchestrated a case against Zuma and violated the independence of the NPA.

Judge Nicholson indicated that such interference is a serious offence and any person contravening legislation prohibiting it shall be liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years or both such find and such imprisonment. The judge concluded that if such interference was allowed to go unchecked and unpunished they will pose a serious threat to our democratic state.

The opposition has reacted strongly on this judgment. Patricia De Lille, leader of the Independent Democrats (ID) said: “The ID views this as a shocking indictment on Mbeki and his cabinet and lends further weight to the ID’s call for a vote of no confidence in the president and the Cabinet, who must take collective responsibility for this entire debacle,” not letting this opportunity for political point-scoring slip past.

Helen Zille, leader of the Democratic Alliance had previously said, “In a constitutional democracy such as ours, it is untenable for a president (Mbeki) with his track record to remain in office,” after allegations surfaced earlier this year that President Mbeki has interfered in independent institutions such as the SABC and the NPA.

It would be logical to assume that the ANC, given this judgment and its unsavoury findings on the conduct of President Mbeki, may pass a motion of no confidence and seek to remove him from office. This move would be consistent with the decision taken by President Mbeki to relieve Zuma of his duties as deputy president of the country in 2005 following judgment on the criminal case involving Shabir Shaik.

However, such a move by the ANC would be ill-advised and inconsistent with Judge Nicholson’s pronouncement that a judgment in a criminal case against one party is not evidence against persons who were not parties to the proceedings. Therefore, matters raised in this particular judgment should not be used against those who were not party to the court proceedings, including the president.

The above pronouncement is evidence of the number of absurdities in the judgment passed by Judge Nicholson. Based on nonsensical inferences and no concrete evidence to support his claims, the judge concluded it seems improbable that President Mbeki could not have been party to the so-called political mechanisations that bedeviled the prosecution of Jacob Zuma from the onset. Judge Nicholson has certainly been mischievous for repeating what he was critical of, by finding President Mbeki in absentia, guilty of political interference in the prosecution of Zuma and undermining the independence of the NPA.

One would have expected the judge to have arrived at such conclusions given their seriousness based on submissions by those he implicates in his judgment. I cannot fault the judgment on the procedural matters for which the court proceedings were primarily about. The NPA indeed committed serious blunders and atrocious errors of judgment when deciding to re-charge Jacob Zuma. But I have serious reservations on the manner in which Judge Nicholson arrived at his ruling on the question of political conspiracy.

Judge Nicholson in his ruling said, “when a party has peculiar knowledge of a fact he is not for that reason saddled with the burden of proving that fact: peculiar knowledge affects the quantum of evidence expected from the party but does not affect the incidence of the burden of proof. If such party fails to adduce evidence, in other words to transmit his or her knowledge to the court, the inference which is least favourable to the party’s cause may be drawn from the proven facts.”

In proving these “facts” the Judge made his own assumptions and relied on countless references to newspaper articles, statements and comments by made by certain individuals under no oath. The judge used personal opinions, without considering their possibility of bias or factualness, in making a determination of fact in his judgment. This is a dangerous thing for a judge of the High Court to resort to in proving a case against persons no party to the court proceedings; persons who were never afforded the opportunity to make representations on allegations relating to their conduct.

The judgment by Judge Nicholson on persons who were not given a chance to defend themselves in a court of law is “unfair and unjust”. Nothing contained in this judgment on question of political interference and violation of the independence of the NPA is a matter of fact, but pure assumptions that have always been the fuel in this conflagration of allegations of political conspiracy. The judge was reckless and irresponsible to have even entertained these nonsensical allegations, which Jacob Zuma had been unable to prove.

An address by President Mbeki to the nation on these allegations is necessary and urgent. The nation cannot afford to have a sitting president with such serious and damaging allegations made against him.

I find Julius Malema’s optimism on 10 September, given his previous attack on the judiciary and the outcome of the judgment, quite curious. He said, “We believe in that judge (Nicholson) … He looked very sober to us … That’s why we are so convinced that we are going to get a positive judgment.”




    Like the SABC, South African democracy has, for the most part, been handed over to the judiciary to sort out.
    But how many of us can now follow the legal shenanigans at The SABC??
    The attitude of most people is “let them get on with it”, I haven’t got a clue what the hell is going on.
    This, of course, does not bode well when one considers that the various legal battles surrounding Jacob Zuma will become more and more obscure and complicated. In the end, as with The SABC, nobody will have the time or energy to follow the twists and turns of the litigious plot.

  2. XNM XNM 18 September 2008

    Lebo I have guessed all along that your understanding of global politics is very very naive. What is disturbing is your arrogance that is baseless.
    The OPEC countries, some Latin American states and the greater part of the African continent are the underwriters of world economy because of the precious resources that God gave them. The American economy is based on a fake financial sysytem hence the open secret that America is technically bankrupt.

    Should peace prevail in Africa and everyone gets on with the business of improving their administrations some western sates will go totally bankrupt in a few decades from now. By creating instability, fostering regime change that favours their machinations they intend to rule well resourced countries by remote control. China as an Asian giant though an outsider may be a better partner for Africa than America and the rest of the west. Their financial system is profoundly intact with trillions in their reserves not forgetting the amount of precious metals that they are hoarding.
    Chinese people bank half of their money all the time.

    Your naivity and short sightedness beats me. Mbeki is very aware of what you are mentioning about these leaders and is obviously not happy. If he was happy with what they are doing he would do the same in SA as well. Mbeki has immense power at his disposal and could be tempted to usurpe it particularly in these trying times but has remained a democrat. Any executive president of a country is usually given these powers. He is the only one who can suspend the constitution and act in accordance with his discretion and he has not done that. It is just that there is more at stake and regime change is not a priority in Africa. The stakes are very high.

    Please go and educate yourself and stop these naive ramblings of yours Lebo.

  3. XNM XNM 18 September 2008

    Why is the Jewish lobby supporting Obama who has a connection with Africa? have you ever asked yourself that question and thought about it solidly Lebo?

  4. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 18 September 2008


    The judge explained that the rules of evidence favoured Zuma, and why, including the fact that the NPA replying affadavit had not refuted certain allegations.It had nothing to do with the judge’s “feelings. Why don’t you READ the judgement? And our media is no longer white owned or white managed. Ever heard of BEE? I can’t remember if it is Ramaphosa or Sexwale who has a large slice of the Sunday Times now, but one of them, or both of them, do have.

    Amused Reader

    I don’t read NZS. I can’t take his hero worship of Mugabe – why upset myself. However, I do read everyone else, so I get some idea of what he is saying.


    Mugabe has the power of a dictator because, like every other dictator, he controls the army and his party. Our army would never come out for Mbeki, and he is no longer leader of his party. Mbeki is powerless.

  5. nzs nzs 19 September 2008

    Wow, the notorious AMAUSED/AMAMUSED/AMUSED READER (depending on the alias he chooses to use) is back, and now wishing to engage with the very nzs he had vowed not to interact with. Or, shall I assume, AMAUSED, that you are still under the same illusion of having ‘blacklisted’ me? Tell me, AMAUSED?

    While you answer that, you might also wish to tell the readers what you think of the self-styled AWB fanatic (I mean of the organisation you have defended so vociferously, alongside your bedfellows, Consulting Engineer, Sarfeffrikin, and others) who threatened to take the life of the equally notorious polygamist in the ANC. Are these threats justified?

    And, hang on, AMAUSED, is your omission of the memorandum of understanding and the subsequent deal of which your beacon of hope (Tsvangirai) is a main signatory in the prelude to the already agreed-upon Government of National Unity in Zimbabwe, by fault or design?

    Of course, how can I expect someone with so blatant a selective amnesia (coupled with a delusional fantasy of having blackmailed me) to interrogate this critical question. You are free, AMAMUSED, to throw toys; maybe you will finally wake from that deep, long self-induced hypnosis………

  6. Lebo Lebo 19 September 2008


    I will leave you to others to load some sense and rationality into your head. I am neither a politician nor a historian, however I debade on the basis of pattern of events, the probable outcome of current issues and common sense.

    I dislike Mbeki and that is no secret in this blog, but I am not here to “strip him naked” but to question his flawed and ill advised tendencies that unfortunately span years. Look at the people around Zuma in any forum, and you will see peope like, Tokyo and Phosa the very victims of his character assasination syndrome (I could not resist using the word)and you gentlement wonder how he got himslef to where he is today.

    Your ramblings won’t save him now XNM and for your sanity sake let’s discuss what the new group intends doing to take us forward. I do also have concerns about incoming group but change is upon us and that’s today’s reality and golden rule is adapt or die (not to be taken literally).

    I do not know about my knowledge or lack of Global politics but I repeat that we are part of the global community and the remarks and comments will continue coming XNM and ignoring them will only be at our own demise.

    Back to the debade, Mbeki has been droping his clothes gradually and I do not see how that is judge Nicholson’s doing expect that he only got the opportunity to make him aware much too late.

  7. XNM XNM 19 September 2008

    Time will tel who Tokyo Sexwale and others is. We will watch and see. I will stand by what I say about Mbeki even if he is no longer in government. What I know the truth will withstand the test of time.


  8. XNM XNM 19 September 2008

    Lyndall Mbeki has chosen to be powerless because he is a democrat. He is not P W Botha and others that you know about

  9. nzs nzs 20 September 2008

    So, AMAMUSED/AMAUSED/AMUSED READER, you have been left with an egg on your face as you tried, in vain, to come to the Cheerleader’s rescue (albeit without solicitation). It may be politely expressed, but the Cheerleader’s response to your “rescue package” surely came as a bruising snub to your macho-inspired ego. And for that, I empathize with you.

    You seem to be genuine bedfellows: both under the spell of illusion that you do not read my posts. Interesting pattern, don’t you think, AMAUSED?

    Although I do not know the Cheerleader, what I can tell you (from her posts) is that she is a very independent woman with a highly liberal upbringing: under the latter scheme of things, a woman is taught early on in life to stand and up for herself and fight her own battles, without meekly waiting for a brandy-drinking, boerewors-eating, pot-bellied conservative moron whose self-delusions inform him that his sole mandate in this world is to “save the lady in distress”. You may share some sentiments with that ridiculous right-wing group that is led by a racially bigoted bearded former convict (the group which, to this day and age, still thinks it owns women, and can just capture all pale-skinned women and keep them in a camp so they (women) can serve gratify the sexual desires of the sexually deprived bearded conservatives, all in the name of reproducing a breed that is, according to this moronic group, an endangered species in this country.

    So, AMAUSED, instead of coming to people’s rescue, be better advised to let them speak and respond for themselves. Trust me, you may also harbour dated views of women as the above-cited conservative grouping, but the self-styled Cheerleader of Thought Leader can speak for herself. We disagree a couple of times, but I respect her courage to speak her mind without some quasi-chauvinistic self-styled patriarch who thinks he can be the mouthpiece of those he considers as “unable to speak for themselves”.
    And, if you run out of things to do, go back to the Commando camps and revive that obsolescent, racially bigoted, rightwing grouping. Maybe (just maybe) your skills would be put to better use.

  10. Lebohang Lebohang 20 September 2008

    I find it sad that the man who once enjoyed respect and envy of Africa and the rest world has allowed himself to be consumed by power and autocratic tendencies and has divided the once mighty ANC into an organisation of cliques.

    I repeat once again that if it wasn’t for Mbeki the ANC would not be in this position where its president has been elected on the basis of sympathy due to the glaring cosnpiracy and use of state machinery to attempt to destroy him.

    I also wish to reiterate that I prefer a model of government where the ruling party accounts to multiple parties/ organisations that represent the majority in line with the democratic requirements and principles. I can only wish Mbeki luck in whatever he intends focusing his energy for the future. Maybe as you put it XNM AU has place for him, but for South Africa life has to continue.

  11. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 20 September 2008


    Botha lost his power to De Klerk, and Mbeki lost his power to Zuma, because they both lost the support of their POLITICAL PARTY!

  12. Lebohang Lebohang 20 September 2008


    I feel your pain and wish Mbeki and his blind following ministers a great future in the cold because for the first time they are going to face the people without the cushion of their positions.

    The next should be Tito!

  13. XNM XNM 22 September 2008

    Shame Lebohang

    No amount of anti Mbeki lobbying will be able to rubbish his legacy. He is a giant amongst giants and will be remembered for his stewardship on matters of democracy in Africa which is contrary to your hallucinasions of an autocratic leader.

    Mbeki is going to be more popular and you will never be able to stamp out his popularity in SA and in the rest of Africa. More books are going to be written and poems will be presented by impressed youth. The spirit of Mbeki will live as a beacon of light for the African continent even when he has paased on.

  14. amused reader amused reader 23 September 2008


    You clearly have some issues to resolve!

    I take it that you decided to play the man and not the ball, because the ball is already neatly nestled in the back of the net.

  15. Sigubhusenkwishi Sigubhusenkwishi 28 September 2008

    @ XNM and other south africans of same ideas.
    It is a higher time for south africans to understand what democracy concept implies?
    Your love of one man or getting married to one
    political party would alawys affect your proper decision making capacity or put a country in a state of disaster we have seen from other african
    countries , that are governed by dictators because
    they once acted right for the best of the country
    and ignore the continuing damage, risk the country is facing.

    Democracy is a government by the majority, not by one person, so south africans deserve respect for their choice as adults, as they can see the risk
    and make their choice democratically to avoid further damage, so your arguement sounds infantile
    and naive, you seems to be not aware of the masses views or choosing to ignore them for your own bigoitic feelings, which is not different from dictators, your arguement is just noisy but non sounding.
    When you are in a game there is time limit, you play your share and you have to be aware when your time is over. You do nt have to cry and make noise like a child, time is over and nothing will change
    it is the turn for others to prove themselves during their terms,so stop preaching us or pre judging people.If you do nt beleive that other people are capable as well of doing the job than people you use to, you better wait and see, than displacing your anxiety and fooling us as if ,there is only one person capable to do the job in a country.

Leave a Reply