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'Zuma innocent until proven guilty' ANC reminds South Africa over prosecution

Mar 16, 2018
'Zuma innocent until proven guilty' ANC reminds South Africa over prosecution

The African National Congress (ANC) on Friday said that it has noted the decision of the National Prosecuting Authority  (NPA) to reinstate charges of corruption against the former President of the ANC and the Republic, Jacob Zuma. 

"The ANC reaffirms its confidence in our country’s criminal justice system and our respect for the independence of the judiciary. We equally affirm our commitment to the constitutionally enshrined principle of equality of all before the law," said Ace Magashule, Secretary General of the ANC. 

"Accordingly we call on South Africans at large to afford the NPA space to conduct its work unhindered, we continue to assert the inalienable right of all in our country, including Comrade Jacob Zuma, to be presumed innocent until and if proven guilty."

NPA boss, Shaun Abrahams, announced on Friday that Zuma will face 16 charges relating to fraud, corruption and racketeering.

This is after the Constitutional Court on Wednesday 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 relate to Zuma's relationship with controversial businessman, Shabir Shaik, who was tried and found guilty in 2005 of soliciting bribes from a French arms company apparently for the benefit of Zuma.

Zuma and other government officials were accused of taking kickbacks from the purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and other arms.

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

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