Pressure mounts on Zuma

Zuma’s defence team filed an application for a ‘permanent stay of execution’ three weeks ago, in which Zuma said the corruption charges against him were part of a conspiracy to damage his “political role playing ability”.

In his application, filed on July 31, the 64-year old former deputy head of state said the state had failed to gather enough evidence to bring him to trial, and should thus have its case struck off the roll.

He also said the state’s delays in bringing the case to court, as well as its application for more time to put its case together were denying him his right to a quick and fair trial.

But in a massive response to the application filed with the Pietermaritzberg High court last Monday, the state said Zuma had every reason to face trial.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Makhosini Nkosi said the state had put together the affidavits of seven current and former government officials detailing reasons why the case against Zuma should continue and why the prosecution needed more time to put it together.

The affidavits also detailed the reasons why the charges against Zuma had been filed.

“The deponents are the National Director of Public Prosecutions and Head of the NPA, advocate Vusi Pikoli, his predecessor Mr Bulelani Ngcuka, former justice minister Dr Penuell Maduna, current head of the Directorate of Special Operations (Scorpions) advocate Leonard McCarthy, advocates Billy Downer SC and Anton Steynberg and Scorpions investigator Johan du Plooy,” Nkosi said in a statement.

“The affidavits, amounting to approximately 500 pages, deal exhaustively with allegations made by Mr Zuma and the other accused in their papers which were filed two weeks ago”.

In their various affidavits, the officials denied and criticised Zuma’s claim that he was the victim of a political conspiracy.

Ngcuka said Zuma’s ‘conspiracy theory’ was part of deliberate manoeuvres by the ANC deputy president “to deflect (people) from the seriousness of the allegations that he (Zuma) is facing”.

The former NPA boss said contrary to Zuma’s allegation that Ngcuka and his colleagues in the ‘anti-Zuma camp’ had taken advantage of the allegations to soil Zuma’s reputation, the news had come as an “unpleasant revelation to him.

Pikoli also rejected Zuma’s claims of a political plot, and said he had decided to press charges on Zuma based on findings that Zuma had a “generally corrupt relationship” with businessman Schabir Shaik.

The current NPA chief said he had also decided to charge Zuma to protect the reputation of the country, as he believed the revelations made in the Shaik trial (that Zuma was involved in a corrupt relationship) “might affect the perception of foreign governments about South Africa and could even impact on the economy”.

In his affidavit, Maduna also slammed the allegations of a conspiracy against Zuma, describing the claims as “opportunistic and squalid”.

Apart from the complaints about a conspiracy, Zuma’s defence against the corruption charges has been that the letter promising protection from investigation for Thint was sanctioned by then deputy president Thabo Mbeki.

Zuma has argued that he had merely signed a letter that had been drafted in the president’s office, and has urged president Mbeki to defend him before the courts.

August 2006
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