Judgement day for Zuma

The National Prosecuting Authority is no longer set on prosecuting African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma, a media report said on Monday.

Business Day said it appeared that the NPA and Zuma’s legal team appear keen to settle the matter out of court.

The Supreme Court of Appeal will decide this morning whether to reopen a corruption case against Zuma, after an appeal by prosecutors against the dismissal of charges.

Reopening of the case could damage Zuma’s image and it would almost certainly overlap with his campaign for the presidency in a general election expected in March or April.

It would be unlikely to stop him being elected but could add to political uncertainty.

High Court judge Chris Nicholson dismissed bribery, fraud and other charges against Zuma in September and suggested there was high-level political involvement in his prosecution.

The prosecution of Zuma has divided the ANC and led to the removal of former president Thabo Mbeki, who was accused of interfering in the case, an allegation he denied.

Prosecutors appealed against the dismissal of the charges against Zuma. Whatever the ruling on Monday, either side could still appeal against it to a higher court.

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe said in a newspaper interview last week that the ANC would stick by Zuma and that the ANC leader remained the party’s candidate for the presidency.

The ANC said recently that it would be “logical” for Zuma to seek a deal with prosecutors if he faced graft charges again.

ANC spokesperson Carl Niehaus said a “legal solution” needed to be found, if possible, before the general elections later this year.

“It has always been logical that there can be negotiations between Mr Zuma’s lawyers and the NPA on the legal matters,” said Niehaus.

“We believe very strongly that a legal solution should be found on the understanding that this case has been dragging on for so long; that Mr Zuma had been tried by the media.

“It has really reached the point that there is no likelihood of a fair and unbiased trial taking place and that this whole matter should now, in a legal way, be brought to a conclusion.”

But Zuma’s lawyers’ next move all depends on the outcome of an appeal currently before the SCA.

Nicholson ruled that the NDPP should have afforded Zuma the opportunity to make representations before it decided to re-charge him in December 2007.

This judgement effectively halted the corruption prosecution against Zuma.

Zuma is not expected to attend court on Monday.

Niehaus said it was understood that the judgement would not take long and that it “did not make sense” for Zuma to attend.

He said he did not expect many Zuma supporters, who often wait in crowds outside his court appearances, to go to court on Monday.

“They go to see Mr Zuma, so if he is not there, it is unlikely that they will be there,” said Niehaus.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Where is the deputy president?

David Mabuza is hard at work — it’s just not taking place in the public eye. The rumblings and discussion in the ANC are about factions in the ruling party, succession and ousting him

Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

Press Releases

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

Openview, now powered by two million homes

The future of free-to-air satellite TV is celebrating having two million viewers by giving away two homes worth R2-million

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday