Zuma loses, South Africa wins

Issued by Mmusi Maimane – Leader of the Democratic Alliance
13 Oct 2017 in News

Finally, after almost a decade of ducking and diving, and squandering millions of rands of public money on his own legal fees, President Jacob Zuma will now face 783 charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering for stealing the people’s money.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the judgment handed down by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) this morning, which flatly rejected President Jacob Zuma’s appeal of the 2016 North Gauteng High Court ruling that set aside the decision to drop these charges eight and a half years ago. The court found that the decision to drop these charges was borne from undue political considerations and, therefore, irrational.

Today’s judgment is a win for justice, the rule of law, and for South Africa. Jacob Zuma will not defeat the ends of justice. The law applies to all, regardless of status.

The matter is now straightforward. The charges now stand, and a court of law must hear this matter. If the President is innocent, as he proclaims, he ought to let a trial court decide on his innocence. His actions over the last decade smack of a desperate attempt to avoid this eventuality. These are the actions of a man who knows he has a lot to answer for.

In this light, I will be writing to the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Adv Shaun Abrahams, insisting that Jacob Zuma is served with an indictment and appears in court at the soonest available date. Adv Abrahams must commit to reinstating all 783 charges, and furnish the people of South Africa with a date by which these charges will be processed. Adv Abrahams must give us a response within 10 days. The charges have been formulated and the evidence is ready. We now await a trial date.

We suspect that President Zuma will want to make fresh representations about why charges against him should be dropped. However, this is unnecessary, as he made written and oral representations on why exactly the same charges ought to be dropped back in 2009, and these representations were rejected. We will not stand for Jacob Zuma.

While everyone has the right to approach the courts for relief, the matter at hand is a simple one, and requires no further deliberation. We urge President Zuma to stop wasting public funds through lengthy legal appeals, and to accept the fact that he will stand trial for 783 charges of corruption fraud and racketeering. We estimate that Zuma’s delaying tactics in the courts to date have cost the taxpayers upwards of R30 million. Jacob Zuma must and will be held personally liable and made to pay for wasting valuable financial resources. Zuma must pay back the money he wasted.

This matter has been ongoing since 6 April 2009, when then Acting National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Adv Moketedi Mpshe, announced that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) would be discontinuing the prosecution of Jacob Zuma on 783 charges of corruption, fraud, money-laundering and racketeering. The next day, the DA launched a review application in the Gauteng North High Court to review and set aside this decision on the grounds that it was manifestly irrational and therefore illegal.

This now presents Adv Abrahams a golden opportunity to show his independence and proceed with this prosecution as planned, and give Jacob Zuma a court date.

The DA has always maintained that the President may not be guilty but that he have his day in court as is consistent with the Rule of Law and due process. The President himself has stated on numerous occasions that he wants his day in court.

In the absence of any legitimate factual or legal reasons, the DA is led to believe that these charges were dropped for political purposes: a political solution needed to be found to drop charges against a person who was about to become President, and the Spy Tapes provided the convenient excuse that has now been set aside.