Ricochet News

Zuma again expected in court over corruption allegations

Jun 8, 2018
Zuma again expected in court over corruption allegations

The case against former President, Jacob Zuma, is expected to resume on Friday at the Durban High Court where he made his first court appearance in April over alleged racketeering, fraud, money laundering and corruption – the same charges that he had dodged for more than 10 years.

At his last appearance, Zuma, who was jovial as ever, arrived smartly dressed to be greeted by chants from those, who came out to show him support.

Judge Themba Sishi presided.

As expected, diehard Zuma supporters gathered at the Dinizulu Park in Durban before marching to the Durban High Court.

Reports said that religious organisations, business forum leaders, and several members of the African National Congress (ANC) and Black First Land First also held a prayer session outside of court.

When Zuma appeared in court years ago over rape allegations, it was Julius Malema, who was then the leader of the ANC Youth League, who came to his aid. This time round, it’s Black First Land First leader, Andile Mngxitama, who formed the party after being expelled from Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

Mngxitama claims Zuma is a victim of a well-orchestrated campaign to demonise him by “white capitalists”.

Zuma faces 16 of the original 783 charges that relate to a multi-billion rand arms deal the country negotiated in the late 1990s and appeared in the court with representatives from French arms supplier, Thales.

It is alleged that, Zuma received 783 illicit payments from Thales, which were solicited and received by his then financial advisor and convicted fraudster, Schabir Shaik.

Thales had won a bid to supply South Africa with fighter jets, patrol boats and other arms.

For his role in the matter, Shaik was sentenced to 15 years behind bars, but was controversially released on medical parole after serving a few years.

In March, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Shaun Abrahams, previously ridiculed as a Zuma stooge, announced that Zuma will face one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud.

That was two days after the Constitutional Court dismissed an application by the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, which sought to delay Abrahams's announcement on the matter.

Abrahams in February asked his prosecuting team to report to him on whether Zuma should be prosecuted for charges relating to the so-called spy tapes saga.

Upon receipt thereof, he was expected to advise on the way forward.

In October 2017, Zuma lost his appeal when the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) upheld a decision by the Pretoria High Court that charges against Zuma should be reinstated.

It said that the decision to withdraw the 783 counts of corruption against Zuma years ago was “irrational”.

The charges were first brought against Zuma in 2005, but dropped by the NPA in April 2009.

The reason was of the charges being dropped was the 'spy tapes' - recordings of phone conversations that apparently showed there was 'political meddling' in the prosecution of the case by Zuma's political rivals.

Weeks later, Zuma became President of the country after former President Thabo Mbeki was recalled by the African National Congress (ANC).

Zuma was given until end of January this year to make presentations to the NPA on why he should not face the charges.