Lawyer defends Zuma's integrity

By Drum Digital
23 August 2013

Allegations that President Jacob Zuma is corrupt are untrue and uncalled for, his lawyer told the Western Cape High Court on Friday.

Kemp J Kemp said it was completely irrelevant that businessman Hugh Glenister had chosen to base his case, regarding the Hawks' independence, on so-called "facts" relating to corruption in the country.

He wanted these "facts" by expert witnesses in affidavits to be struck down.

The court was hearing applications by Glenister and the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) to declare parts of the SA Police Service Amendment Act inconsistent with the Constitution, to the extent that they failed to secure adequate independence for the Hawks investigative unit.

Kemp cited one allegation about the "corrupt relationship" between Zuma and his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik.

"What must we do about that? It's not even true," Kemp asked.

Judge Siraj Desai replied: "It's quite clearly a scurrilous allegation."

The lawyer read out a portion of the document which alleged that if one looked at Zuma's "lifestyle", it could be assumed that he was guilty of corruption in at least two instances.

Kemp said he refused to deal with the documents.

"The fact that Shaik was guilty does not mean Zuma was guilty. It really goes too far."

Zuma was charged with corruption after Shaik was found to have facilitated a bribe for him from a French arms company, as part of the multi-billion rand arms deal.

The charges against Zuma were later dropped.

On Thursday, Glenister's lawyer Paul Hoffman asked whether it was responsible to keep the Hawks within the control of police "under the circumstances".

Judge Judith Cloete asked what circumstances he was referring to.

Hoffman replied it was the extent of corruption in government and state security bodies, as supported by his expert witnesses in affidavits.

"It's the factual circumstances of the executive, the SAPS, and the pre-2012 Hawks, the un-turbo-charged Hawks," he said.

Desai said at the time that it could not be expected for these opinions to be taken as facts.

The amendments were drafted in reaction to a previous Constitutional Court victory by Glenister, in which the executive was ordered to change the legislation to provide the Hawks with independence from political interference, among other things.

Glenister brought his suit following the dissolution of the Scorpions, an investigative unit under the National Prosecuting Authority, in 2008. The Scorpions were replaced by the Hawks, which fell under the SAPS.

Glenister and the HSF approached the Constitutional Court separately in November last year to oppose the amendments, arguing they were still insufficient.

Direct access to the Constitutional Court was denied and the two parties agreed to appear before a full Bench of high court judges at the same time and present their arguments.

-Sapa

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