A court in South Africa is hearing a case by opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA) on the dropping of the corruption case against President Jacob Zuma in 2009. The DA believes this was a political move that allowed Zuma to become president in 2009.
President Zuma was accused of receiving bribe from Thint, a French arms manufacturer, influenced by his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik while South Africa was considering an arms deal.
Shaik was found guilty on two counts of corruption and one of fraud in 2005. However, the charge against Zuma never came to fruition. In 2008, Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Chris Nicholson dismissed the charges claiming it was all a political conspiracy against Zuma by the former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki and others.
Judge Nicholson’s decision to side step Zuma’s charges was taken to the supreme court but it was repealed. Zuma later appealed to the Constitutional court.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had cited ‘spy tapes’ as evidence of the blackmail against Zuma. The tapes are alleged recordings between then Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka, that apparently showed political interference in the decision to charge Zuma.
The DA are challenging the decision to drop the case in what they deemed “unconstitutional”and “irrational”. However President Zuma’s lawyers see Zuma as a victim of abuse who is in a web of conspiracy staged by minority opposition leaders. They also blamed the Court’s decision to drop the case on former President Thabo Mbeki,former Directorate of Special Operations (DSO) head Lennit McCarthy and former prosecutions boss Bulelani Ngcuka.
President Zuma’s administration has been plagued with corrupt charges. The latest prior to this being the use of government funds to upgrade his Nkandla home. Before the court appearance, he made published a statement where he promised to refund the money.
The DA who are always out for president Zuma want to know if the decision to drop the corruption charges against was legal or political. If the DA wins the case, the NPA is likely to re-institute the charges. Also, with South Africa’s municipal elections not so far away, this would not look good for the African National Congress.