iSERVICE

Zuma prosecution: The reactions

DA leader Mmusi Maimane says this represents culmination of legal fight his party began in 2009

AFRIFORUM

AfriForum welcomes NPA’s decision to prosecute Zuma

The civil rights organisation AfriForum welcomes the announcement from Shaun Abrahams, the National Director of Public Prosecutions, that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will prosecute Jacob Zuma, the former President, on charges of corruption among others. According to AfriForum Adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecuting Unit, will monitor the NPA’s actions to ensure that the prosecution runs smoothly.

According to Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, Abrahams took the decision that Zuma must be prosecuted with the knowledge that Nel would prosecute Zuma privately on behalf of AfriForum should the NPA not do this. Kriel points out that AfriForum established a private prosecuting unit under the leadership of Nel for the very reason of applying pressure on the NPA to do their job. “We therefore view the NPA’s decision to prosecute Zuma not only as a victory for AfriForum, but also for the principle of equality before the law,” Kriel adds.

Kallie Kriel, CEO AfriForum

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ANC

STATEMENT OF THE ANC ON THE REINSTATEMENT OF CHARGES AGAINST COMRADE JACOB ZUMA 

The African National Congress (ANC) 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 of South Africa, Comrade 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.

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.

Ace Magashule, Secretary General, African National Congress 

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DA

DA welcomes Abrahams decision to prosecute Zuma

The DA welcomes the decision by the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Shaun Abrahams, to proceed with the criminal trial of Jacob Zuma. This is a victory for all who have fought for years for Jacob Zuma to face accountability for his crimes. That accountability starts now.

We launched this review application in 2009, after the 783 charges were dropped illegally and unconstitutionally. It is a fight that we have been waging in the Courts for almost nine years and today’s decision is a vindication of the decision to challenge the dropping of the charges. Now there must be no further delay in starting the trial. The witnesses are ready, the evidence is strong, and Jacob Zuma must finally have his day in court.

We will brief our legal teams immediately to oppose any effort by Zuma to delay this any further, including his application for a stay of prosecution.

We will also fight to ensure the public do not have to carry the costs of Zuma's defence, as they have already done for the past 9 years.

I thank all of the legal teams who have waged this ‘lawfare’ over the years. Their effort and dedication has defeated Zuma’s endless delay tactics.

When Shabir Shaik was found guilty on charges of corruption and fraud in relation to the Arms Deal on 7 April 2005, Judge Squires' judgment made it clear that Zuma must also be charged, and that the evidence for this was “convincing and really overwhelming”.

Shaik and Zuma’s trials should never have been separated in the first place and the decision to reinstate the charges should not have been a difficult one. Zuma’s day in court is years overdue and the NPA’s prosecutions team have said that there was a strong case on the merits and the only reason charges were dropped was because of the infamous Spy Tapes.

The then NDPP made the decision to withdraw charges against Zuma because he felt that the Spy Tapes had prejudiced Zuma and had made the trial unfair toward him. The DA challenged this decision in court and this is what we have been fighting for the past nine years, which has now been vindicated.


Mmusi Maimane, Leader of the Democratic Alliance

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EFF

EFF WELCOMES THE DECISION BY THE NPA TO PROCEED WITH ZUMA’S PROSECUTION ON CORRUPTION CHARGES

The EFF welcomes the decision by NPA to proceed with charges against Jacob Zuma so he can have his day in court. This decision comes after many years of manipulation of legal processes to try and avoid this inevitable eventuality. This included Zuma’s review application that the charges be set aside. The Zuma corruption trial will indeed provide a neutral platform for all matters relating to his charges to be ventilated as explained by the NDPP, and finally brought to a close. 

It is important to state that no one, even former presidents, is above the law. The principle of equality before the law means we must all be equally held accountable for the deeds deemed illegal regardless of our social and political standing. The prosecution of Zuma will send a strong message to all kleptomaniacs within and outside the government that they can never loot the state and not meet the consequences thereof.  

The EFF further calls on Shaun Abrahams to step down from the position of National Director of Public Prosecution. The courts have declared that his appointment was illegitimate and thus he has to step down. Nothing will further restore confidence in the NPA than a new and fresh NDPP. 

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FF PLUS

Zuma will finally have his day in court

The FF Plus welcomes the decision of the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Shaun Abrahams, to reinstate the criminal charges against former President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma said that he would like to have his day in court to prove his innocence and now he finally has the opportunity to do so.

Abrahams’s decision to prosecute Zuma is the right decision, but it is regrettable that the decision was only taken now – nearly ten years later and after millions of rands of tax payers’ money was squandered. The decision is welcomed in the interest of transparency and for the sake of the South African tax payers.

The question is whether the principle of transparency and the interests of the people of South Africa, to which Abrahams referred, has not always been important. It is clear that Abrahams has now, after many years, suddenly given in to pressure and that this is just an attempt to save himself so that he can stay on in his position.

The FF Plus is still of the opinion that Abrahams is not competent nor suited for the position as National Director of Public Prosecutions and that he must be replaced with a competent candidate as soon as possible, because that would lend much more dignity and integrity to the Nation Prosecution Authority (NPA).

The FF Plus has always held that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been tainted by the allegations of corruption with the arms deal and the claims that Zuma was somehow involved in it.

This also creates the opportunity to let the people of South Africa know that if there was indeed corruption, then the guilty parties will be called to account. This will restore the image of the SANDF for the future.

Dr. Pieter Groenewald, FF Plus leader and Dr. Corné Mulder, FF Plus spokesperson on Justice

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FW DE KLERK FOUNDAITON

STATEMENT ON NPA REINSTATING CHARGES AGAINST FORMER PRESIDENT ZUMA

The FW de Klerk Foundation welcomes today’s announcement by the current (albeit it embattled) head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Adv Shaun Abrahams, to reinstate the charges of corruption, money laundering, racketeering, fraud and tax evasion against former President Jacob Zuma. This brings to an end a decade of litigation over the initial NPA decision in 2009 to withdraw the charges levelled against former President Zuma. Given the uninspiring record of the NPA in the prosecution of politically-connected individuals, there is perhaps need for cautious optimism. Nevertheless, with the overwhelming public interest and the presence of a vociferous and robust civil society and the possibility of private prosecution, it is hoped that the NPA will be true to its constitutional mandate of prosecuting without fear, favour or prejudice.

While the successful prosecution of highly-connected political figures will go some way towards assuaging the angst-ridden South African public, it is still not enough to fully restore confidence in this vital institution. More than that, the NPA needs to make good on its word concerning the investigations into State Capture. Perhaps that will be the catalyst for the NPA towards reclaiming their constitutionally-appointed role as an institution that upholds justice and the Rule of Law.

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OUTA

Zuma prosecution: It's about time

OUTA welcomes the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decision to prosecute Jacob Zuma.

“At last the axe has eventually fallen,” says Ben Theron, OUTA’s Chief Operating Officer.

“Jacob Zuma's day in court has been long overdue and, while we applaud Shaun Abrahams for eventually taking the obvious decision, we believe he is largely to blame for the unnecessary delay in getting this matter to where it is today. Nonetheless, South Africans have a very good reason to be happy our criminal justice system is working in favour of the people, reminding us and those in authority that no-one is above the law.

"It appeared to many that Jacob Zuma was above the law for a very long time; however, we were always confident that, in time, the barriers that kept him out of court and possibly jail would eventually be removed. That day has now arrived."

OUTA looks forward to an independent, robust prosecution taking place under a new National Director of Public Prosecutions. Zuma must be held accountable.

“These charges were laid before Zuma was President, thus he must pay for his defence out of his own pocket,” says Theron.

NDPP Abrahams announced that Zuma would face prosecution on 16 charges: one count of racketeering, two of corruption, one of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud. This indictment was initially served on him in 2007.

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SACP

Statement on the charges against former President Jacob Zuma

The South African Communist Party notes the National Prosecuting Authority’s decision announced on Friday, 16 March to reinstate corruption charges against former President Jacob Zuma.

The SACP has consistently paid attention to this matter and respects the rule of law.

Accordingly, having due regard to all the circumstances the SACP calls on all South Africans to let the law take its full course.