Cape Town - SACP deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin has called for the reinstatement of arms deal corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma to help him clear his reputation and that of the country and the ANC.
Speaking to Cape Times sister paper The Mercury during Cosatu’s May Day rally at the Curries Fountain Stadium in Durban, Cronin, who is also Public Works deputy minister, said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) should have good reasons to decline to reinstate the 783 charges.
“As things stand the charges should be reinstated. As the ANC has correctly said, ‘justice delayed is justice denied’. Even if it was not his (Zuma) decision to withdraw the charges originally, as long as they hang over him they do impact upon him,” he said.
The high court in Pretoria had last week ruled it was irrational for then national director of public prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe to withdraw the charges in 2009.
The high court ruling came shortly after the Constitutional Court had ruled that Zuma should comply with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action on money spent at his Nkandla homestead.
The withdrawal of the corruption charges cleared Zuma’s way to become the president.
However, Cronin cautioned against “blaming Zuma for something (withdrawing the charges) he did not influence whatsoever”.
Addressing thousands of people at the stadium, Cronin lashed out at the Guptas. He accused Zuma’s connections of being unpatriotic to the country.
He also said major banks and other financial institutions had been previously warned that doing business with the “parasitic” Guptas would be “exposing themselves to international sanction and even to losing their operating licences if they continued to deal with parasites”.
“The Guptas are not patriotic, they are parasitic. We can’t effectively deal with the established monopoly capital, we cannot defend our South African national sovereignty in the face of the external imperialist agenda if the parasite which seemed to capture our own state remains inside the state and continues to undermine the revenue service, continues to undermine key parastatals like Eskom, Armscor or SAA. Phansi (down) with Guptarisation.”
Read an update on this story: Cronin's comments misrepresented, says SACP
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the high court’s decision had taken the ANC back to “2007 and beginning of 2008”, where it had to deal with Zuma facing corruption charges.
“It (dropping the charges) was the decision of the NPA, not the decision of the ANC.”
He said, therefore, it was the NPA, and not the ANC, that should decide whether to reinstate the charges.
“Subjective factors are internal, you have control over them and you can change them; objectives are outside of your control but you must just prepare the organisation to be able to weather the storm of objective factors.”
He said both the Constitutional Court and high court rulings would not affect the ANC during the local government elections.
“When we elect a ward candidate who is not subjected to the Constitutional Court ruling, that is not an issue because it is a ward candidate here in the locality.
“If people have confidence in that candidate, they will elect him or her.”
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