Bad news for Zuma

2007-12-15 00:00

According to court papers submitted to the Constitutional Court at 1.30 pm by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) yesterday, the sum of money involved in the corruption allegations involving ANC leadership candidate Jacob Zuma is up from R1,2 to R4,07 million, while the number of alleged payments to Zuma mentioned in the court case against Zuma’s financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, is up from 229 to 354. Instead of the four examples mentioned in the Shaik case of how he benefited from his relationship with Zuma, 32 examples are now alleged.

The new allegations have been brought by senior investigator Johan du Plooy, who also investigated the Shaik case.

The latest charges are likely to send tension levels in the ANC soaring to boiling point on the eve of the ANC leadership election in Polokwane (Pietersburg).

The supporters of Jacob Zuma, who is the only candidate ranged against President Thabo Mbeki, maintain that the timing of the NPA’s submissions is significant and another example of how state machinery is being used to discredit Zuma.

The Mbeki camp denies this, saying that the wheels are simply turning and that the country can’t afford corrupt leaders.

The court papers form part of the ongoing saga of raids carried out by the Scorpions on, among others, Zuma and his legal representatives.

After the Appeal Court recently rejected Zuma’s objections to these raids, Zuma submitted court papers to the Constitutional Court to have the raids declared unconstitutional. Yesterday’s court papers are the NPA’s response to Zuma’s steps.

NPA spokesman Tlali Tlali was not available for comment, but Die Burger was told that this was simply the earliest that the NPA could get its response together.

“This is clearly an attempt to swing the balance of power at Polokwane,” Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said last night, adding that the event supports Cosatu’s warnings that state institutions are being abused.

SACP spokesman Malesela Maleka agrees. “Comrade Zuma is the victim of a political conspiracy and state institutions are being used against him once again.”

Any political motives are being denied.

Meanwhile, the party faithful were yesterday making their way to Polokwane for the African National Congress’ much-awaited national conference.

A total of 4 075 voting delegates, plus hundreds of non-voting delegates, observers, and a massive media contingent, will spend today registering for the conference, being held at the University of Limpopo.

The national conference starts tomorrow morning with a lengthy political report by Mbeki, and closes on Thursday with an address by the person delegates have decided will lead the party for the next five years.

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