As 2017 draws to a close, the year has been a hectic one for the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein.
Some of the high profile appeal cases were heard in the second highest court in the country after the Constitutional Court.
They include the state appeal against the sentence of Oscar Pistorius’s murder case and President Jacob Zuma’s spy tapes appeal among others.
The spy tapes appeal was the highlight of the high profile cases in the Supreme Court of Appeal.
In October the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed with costs President Zuma’s appeal in his long running battle to avoid prosecution for fraud and corruption.
This comes after the High Court in Pretoria found that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) should not have withdrawn the 783 charges based on the spy tapes’ revelation by the then Scorpions and NPA heads.
It has been eight years since Mokotedi Mpshe, the NPA acting head, in 2009 took a decision to discontinue the criminal prosecution of President Zuma relating to alleged crimes of corruption.
President Zuma representatives argued in court that the Democratic Alliance (DA) case against President Zuma was shocking and a show of desperation.
Advocate Kemp J Kemp says, “We say actual tapes are part of the representations, we say if you ask someone and bear in mind and what is on the affidavit is just what was conveyed to the NPA.”
The DA says a move to find President Zuma innocent was irrational. The DA’s Helen Zille says people are equal before law.
WATCH: President Jacob Zuma’s spy tapes appeal:
In September, the SCA surprised everyone by overturning Thandi Maqubela’s murder conviction. She was jailed for her husband, Acting Judge Patrick Maqubela’s murder.
He was found dead at a Bantry Bay apartment in 2009.
In March 2015, the Western Cape High Court sentenced Maqubela to an effective 18 years imprisonment for the murder of her husband, forging his will and then fraudulently trying to pass it off as an authentic document.
Although prosecutors believed he was suffocated, a cause of death was never conclusively proven.
Maqubela’s legal representatives argued that the deceased may have died of natural causes.
WATCH: Thandi Maqubela court case video below:
Also convicted paralympian Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial was declared as the Newsmaker of the Year for 2014.
Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day in 2013 in his Pretoria home.
He claimed he had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder hiding in the bathroom but he was arrested and charged with murder.
Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide. He was given a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide and a concurrent three-year suspended prison sentence for a separate reckless endangerment conviction.
SCA, however, increased Pistorius’s sentence to 13 years in prison, for the murder of Steenkamp.
WATCH: Oscar Pistorius video:
Also another case that has made headline was the judgment reserved in Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s Qunu home appeal case.
Former President Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie, approached the SCA, to overturn a 2016 decision by the Mthatha High Court, which dismissed her application to acquire Mandela’s home in Qunu.
Madikizela-Mandela believes that Land Affairs Minister’s decision in November 1997, in which the land was donated to the former President, should be set aside.
She claims that the property was built on land allocated to her in 1989.
WATCH Winnie Madikizela-Mandela video below:
In another major development in November, Justice Minister Michael Masutha, denied parole to Chris Hani’s killer‚ Janusz Walus.
He said parole for Walus was not advisable at this stage.
The Polish immigrant and extreme anti-communist, Walus, and right-wing politician, Clive Derby-Lewis, were sentenced to death for the murder of Hani, outside his home in Boksburg on April 10, 1993.
Walus fired the fatal shots and Derby-Lewis provided the gun. The sentences were commuted to life. Derby-Lewis was granted medical parole on May 15, 2015 after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.
The SCA overturned the High Court decision in Pretoria granting parole to Walus.
This was after Masutha appealed the ruling. The SA Communist Party’s (SACP) Solly Mapaila welcomed Minister Masutha’s refusal of parole to Walus.
Masutha turned down Walus’s application for parole in April 2015.
WATCH Janusz Walus video below: