Zuma portrays himself as a conspiracy victim yet fails to justify why charges against him must be dropped
Almost 12 years to the day that corruption and fraud charges related to the multibillion-rand arms deal were dropped against Jacob Zuma, his trial will finally begin at the Pietermaritzburg High Court (May 17).
The National Prosecuting Authority's case against Zuma stems from the conviction of his former financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, on two charges of corruption – one of fraud related to Zuma, and the other of trying to solicit a bribe from French arms dealer Thomson-CSF (now Thales).
The NPA’s corruption case against Zuma was also mired in ANC succession politics. Supporters of Zuma successfully made the case (in public) that the NPA’s pursuit was politically motivated and that he had been the victim of skulduggery from the likes of former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former national director of public prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka.
The “spy tapes” finally convinced acting NPA boss Mokotedi Mpshe that they were unlikely to succeed in their prosecution.
McCarthy and Ngcuka had allegedly conspired to time Zuma’s prosecution to scupper his ambitions for the ANC presidency, as Thabo Mbeki sought a third term as party president.
Zuma has for years used this to portray himself as the victim of a vast (call it global) conspiracy while working, through his stooges in the NPA and the Hawks, to ensure that the charges against him never saw the light of day in any courtroom.
But a judicial review of that decision by Mpshe in April 2009, brought by the DA, means that Zuma will finally have to answer to allegations of fraud and corruption.
In his asymmetrical warfare against the Constitution and the justice system, Zuma has failed to make any case for why charges against him should be dismissed. Instead, Zuma has claimed, without a shred of evidence, that the country’s judges are corrupt and biased against him.
Perhaps looking at his own future legal troubles, EFF leader Julius Malema has repeated the nonsense even though he sits on the Judicial Service Commission, which recommends judicial appointments and is empowered to investigate judges.
For all these reasons, May 17 can’t come soon enough.