South Africa’s National Director of Public Prosecution, Shaun Abrahams on Friday said that the erstwhile South African president, Jacob Zuma is going to face trial for corruption charges and all other charges brought against him in 2009. This comes a month after he bowed to pressure from the African National Congress (ANC) to resign for his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa to take over.
“I am of the view that there are reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution of Zuma in the charges listed in the indictment,” Abrahams said.
Zuma is faced with 18 count charges which include charges of corruption, fraud, laundering and racketeering. These allegations are based on more than 700 payments made between 1995 and 2000s. These charges relates to a multi million dollar arms deal.
According to Sunday times, the 18 count charges is a $2.5 billion government arms deal in the late 1990s. Zuma the then deputy president was linked to the deal through Schabir Shaik, his former financial adviser who was jailed for corruption.
Shaik’s conviction almost affected Zuma’s bid for president but the charges against him were dropped on a technicality in 2009. In 2006, the High Court reinstated the charges and the Supreme Court upheld that decision last year, rejecting an appeal by Zuma and describing the NPA’s initial decision to set aside the charges as “irrational”.
“I am mindful that everyone is equal before the law and enjoys the rights to equal protection and benefit of the law. Similarly, the NPA, in executing it’s constitutional and legal mandate, will ensure that alleged perpetrators of crime will be prosecuted without fear, favour of prejudice, irrespective of their station in life,” Abraham said further.
This is a huge political development in a continent where political elite do not go to court to face their accusers.
“This is a victory for all who have fought for years for Jacob Zuma to face accountability for his crimes. That accountability starts now,” said Mmusi Maimane, the official opposition leader and head of the Democratic Alliance party.
Without mincing words Zuma is inevitably South Africa’s most scandalous president.