Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma could possibly have corruption charges against him reinstated weeks before the ANC’s elective conference in December, and this might raise questions about his ability to influence the outcome in his favour.
The National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, has given Zuma until November 30 to make fresh representations on why corruption charges against him should not be reinstated.
The 783 charges of corruption against Zuma were dropped in 2009 by the then head of the NPA Mokotedi Mpshe.
That decision was challenged by the DA at the North Gauteng High Court, with the court deciding that the decision to drop corruption charges against Zuma was irrational. The Supreme Court of Appeal confirmed this ruling this week.
When Zuma was charged with corruption in 2007 it was in the midst of the ANC’s elective conference, and it seems this time again Zuma could be facing the same fate.
This has raised questions on whether this could affect his ability to influence the outcome of the elective conference to favour his preferred candidate, former African Union Chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa are seen as front runners towards the December conference, even though there are about five other contenders.
Political analyst Professor Susan Booysen is doubtful that if Zuma could go into the ANC conference with charges handing over his head, it would weaken him.
Booysen said Zuma had proven countless times before that he was able to act as if the world around him was still functioning normally.
“I don’t think it would have an effect on what’s happening around him because he will just say ‘charges are not a conviction’. And he has been totally dismissive and incredibly arrogant about the charges that have been hanging over his head for over the past decade,” said Booysen.
“That is the Zuma that we have come to know that irrespective of the charges that are possibly before him, he will tell those that are associated with him that there is no conviction against him.”
It was also doubtful that Abrahams would decide on Zuma’s fate soon and he would probably stretch out his decision beyond December, said Booysen.
Abrahams has only allowed Zuma to bring forth new arguments to help soften the case against him.
The NDPP head already met with Hawks head Yolisa Matakata to seek information on when the 218 witnesses in the case against Zuma can be contacted. The Hawks said they also need 30 days to compile this list.
Another possible challenge for Zuma is that the DA has been allowed to also make representations, and it's possible that the party will argue for the charges to be reinstated.