Politics / 16 March 2018, 8:24pm / Zintle Mahlati and AFP
Johannesburg - The date for former president Jacob Zuma to go on trial for 16 charges of corruption, racketeering and money laundering will be made by KwaZulu-Natal Director of Public Prosecutions Adv Moipone Noko in consultation with Zuma’s lawyers.
The decision was announced on Friday by the National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams. He said the representations that were made by Zuma and submitted to him on January 31 were unsuccessful.
Abrahams said Zuma’s representations focused on allegations of prosecutorial manipulation, impropriety, fair trial abuses, prosecutorial misconduct, deliberate leaking of information to the media and the irrational decisions made by former national directors.
Zuma also made allegations against various past heads of the NPA in an attempt to try get the charges against him dropped.
The 16 charges Zuma faces relate to a R30 billion arms deal contract that was issued in the 1990s to French arms company Thint.
He faces one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud.
The charges relate to 783 payments that Zuma received through his then advisor Schabir Shaik – who was facilitating the bribe from Thint.
Shaik was found guilty of fraud and corruption in 2005 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison – although he served only two years of that term and was released on medical parole because of a “terminal illness”.
Here is a timeline of major events in the corruption charges against Zuma:
October 1995 - The South African air force decides to replace some of its jets.
March 1997 - The government approves a plan to replace defence hardware.
October 1997 - Deputy president Thabo Mbeki opens a tender for the supply of arms estimated to cost around 12 billion rand.
November 1998 - The cabinet approves the arms deal at a price tag of 30 billion rand. On the same day Zuma, then a provincial minister, meets with his personal financial advisor Schabir Shaik and an official from French arms dealer Thomson-CSF. The auditor-general raises red flag over the deal as "high-risk".
June 1999 - Thabo Mbeki is elected president of South Africa with Jacob Zuma as his deputy.
September 1999 - An opposition lawmaker Patricia de Lille alerts parliament that the arms deal could be fishy and calls for an inquiry.
December 1999 - Finance Minister Trevor Manuel seals off the deal at 29.9 billion rand.
February 2000 - The serious economic crimes offences police unit known as the Scorpions launch investigations.
November 2002 - Local media reports that Zuma, who is not yet president, is under investigation.
October 2004 - Trial of Zuma's adviser Shaik opens.
June 2005 - Shaik is convicted and jailed for 15 years for fraud and corruption. Four years later he is released on medical parole in 2009, the year Zuma becomes president.
- Zuma is charged with having had a "generally corrupt" relationship with Shaik. Mbeki fires him as deputy president
- Zuma is formally indicted on two graft charges.
December 2007 - Zuma is elected president of the ruling African National Congress party, unseating Mbeki. Ten days later Zuma is slapped with fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering charges for allegedly getting kickbacks from one of the bidders.
September 2008 - A judge rules that the corruption charges against Zuma are invalid.
April 2009 - Acting chief prosecutor Mokotedi Mpshe withdraws charges against Zuma based on the phone conversation of the so-called "spy tapes" that suggest the charges were politically motivated.
May 2009 - Zuma is sworn in as South Africa's president.
October 2011 - Zuma appoints a judiciary panel into the arms deal.
April 2016 - The panel clears all government officials of corruption over the arms deal. Days later the High Court in Pretoria rules that the 2009 decision to drop the charges was "irrational" and that charges must be reinstated.
October 2017 - The Supreme Court of Appeal rules that Zuma is liable for prosecution.
February 2018 - Zuma is forced to resign as South African president by his party in the wake of mounting corruption scandals around him.
March 2018 - Prosecutors decide he should face 12 counts of fraud, two of corruption, one of racketeering and one of money laundering.