Prosecutors may drop Zuma charges 'within days'
South African prosecutors are expected to drop corruption charges against ANC president Jacob Zuma, paving the way for him to become state president next month, the Sunday Independent newspaper reported.
Local media has reported that the National Prosecuting Authority could soon withdraw its case against Zuma, citing evidence it says has emerged pointing to political interference in the matter.
“The evidence in the possession of Zuma’s legal team means acting prosecutions boss Mokotedi Mpshe is expected to bite the bullet and drop the charges against Zuma within days,” the Sunday Independent said, citing unnamed sources.
“Those close to the NPA are ‘very positive’ Mpshe will make a decision after consulting his lieutenants on Monday,” the paper added.
Earlier this month, NPA spokesperson Tlali Tlali told Reuters prosecutors were considering whether to drop the charges against Zuma after he lodged a legal request.
Tlali was not immediately available for comment on the Sunday Independent report.
A decision to drop the charges could boost the ANC’s campaign for elections on April 22, where it faces its greatest electoral challenge since apartheid ended in 1994, but is still expected to emerge the winner.
The Congress of the People (Cope) is however expected to reduce the ANC’s domination in Parliament, in the face of growing public anger over corruption, poor services, poverty and crime.
A judge last month postponed Zuma’s trial to August 25—several months after he is expected to become president.
Zuma has denied wrongdoing and says he is the victim of a political conspiracy in the corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering charges, laid against him days after he defeated former South African president Thabo Mbeki to the ANC leadership.
Meanwhile, Zuma said on Sunday that opposition parties claimed to respect the rule of law, but were quick to oppose it when someone exercised his constitutional right.
At a party rally at Olympia Park Stadium in Rustenburg, Zuma said opposition parties went to the NPA to make submissions to prosecute him instead of focusing on their election campaigns.
“For certain organs of the state to review such submissions is within the law, within the Constitution,” South African Broadcasting Corporation news reported him as saying.
“What do they [opposition parties] do? They even challenge the decisions before the decisions are taken and in the middle of elections. Instead of them being busy canvassing they are busy going to court to challenge decision that don’t exist.”
Zuma was referring to the Democratic Alliance (DA)‘s submission to the NPA on Thursday.
The DA gave their reasons as to why they believed the NPA must prosecute Zuma.
In their submission the DA said the NPA had enough evidence, including 13 documents from Mauritius to prosecute Zuma.
At Sunday’s North West rally, Zuma also called on ANC members not to disrupt meetings of other political parties because this would give opposition parties something to speak about in the media.
He said those who had left the ANC were welcome to come back.
“Some of them who had political education have realised that the ANC is their home and are coming back and we welcome them,” he said.
‘Our task is to serve the people’
Zuma also told the crowd that the party would not tolerate laziness and corruption.
“We are not going allow lazy people because if they are lazy, it means we are not going to deliver,” he said.
In the new administration, things would be done differently, he said.
A planning strategy would be put in place to monitor the performance of government, at national, provincial and local levels.
“If I am not performing, I must be recalled, our task is to serve the people.”
Zuma warned ANC candidates that they were elected to serve South Africans, not to enrich themselves. Corrupt officials would be harshly dealt with in the new administration.
“A person commits fraud, and he is suspended with full pay. We need to change that. Why do we have to pay someone sitting at home?”
He told the crowd that the ANC was unique among other political parties, because it cared for South Africans.
“Our manifesto, is a manifesto of the people, drawn and adopted by the people of this country.” - Reuters, Sapa