I won’t sue state — Zuma

Zuma, who remains deputy president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, said he would not be pursuing a “revenge mission” against the government despite his belief that the state violated his right to a fair trial and had “malicious intents” in pursuing and processing the corruption charges against him.

In a televised Press conference last week, Zuma accused the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of teaming up with the media in an effort to discredit him and thwart his political ambitions.

“It is now well known that the investigation and campaign against me was supported by regular leaks of information to the media, and intense lobbying of the media for support.

“Through this, they created a culture of Zuma bashing,” he said.

He, however, said he was “not the type” to go back to court and sue the state.

In his first statement after the ruling by Judge Herbert Msimang, Zuma said the NPA had been driven by “improper motives” in its quest to press charges against him.

He said the state was more focused on “prosecuting Jacob Zuma” than on revealing the truth behind the arms deal and the alleged corruption.

The 64-year-old veteran nationalist said he valued his freedom and was “determined to resist any attempt to ensnare such freedom”.

Zuma said he had been investigated by the NPA for the past six years.

“The question will always remain as to why there was so much pressure and urgency to take me to court when clearly there was no evidence.

“The abuse of power and violation of my rights have been consistent through this period,” he said.

Zuma’s comments on the judgment had been eagerly awaited by the South African public, some of who still believe the former deputy head of state still has a case to answer.

An opinion poll carried out by research company FutureFact after Judge Msimang’s ruling found that the majority of people would still want the ANC boss sent to prison if found guilty of the corruption charges against him.

The sentiments were in spite of widespread support for Zuma and jubilation over the scrapping of the charges against him.

The research company said the revelations were largely due to increasing anti-corruption sentiment among South Africa’s urban population, who were against what they believed to be a growing scourge of graft.

FutureFact director Debbie Milne said 66 percent of those surveyed in the poll were behind President Thabo Mbeki’s move to axe Zuma from the cabinet on the basis of suspicion of corruption last year. She said 86 percent of respondents ‘ particularly the youth ‘ had also felt “strongly” that officials found guilty of corruption should not be allowed to hold office again.

“We have found that young adults in South Africa are increasingly showing a strong anti-corruption mindset. Of all the age-groups, the 16-24s have shown consistently higher support for the eradication of guilty officials and higher support for the incarceration of Zuma if found guilty. This may well be due to the fact that these young people are more economically driven than politically loyal,” Milne said in her report.

The NPA says it would pursue the charges against Zuma and resubmit its case as soon as it completes its investigations.

Special investigations branch, the Scorpions, has continued with inquiries into Zuma’s affairs, and last week raided an accountants’ firm associated with Zuma’s “associate” Schabir Shaik.

Media reports said the raid had taken place only an hour after Judge Msimang’s findings in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Observers believe the raid has given the strongest hint so far that the NPA is intent on pursuing its case against Zuma as soon as possible.

October 2006
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