Let it proceed

2008-07-26 00:00

As the date of Jacob Zuma’s court hearing approaches, the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League has joined the South African Communist Party and other organisations in threatening to bring the life and business of the provincial capital to a standstill if legal proceedings are not halted. Zuma himself, meanwhile, has reiterated his assertion that “improper political motives” lie behind his prosecution.

It is a claim that cannot be ignored or entirely discounted, even though, well before Zuma was elected president of the ANC, a court of law did express the opinion that a case could be made against him. Zuma’s claim may have validity, but the only way to find this out is for his case to go to court. Let the evidence of political interference be led, examined and tested. If the judge agrees, it will have its due influence on the findings of the court and justice will be done.

As things are developing, with Zuma’s supporters daily stepping up their intimidatory clamour, every effort is clearly being made to prevent justice from being done. Looking back to the Schabir Shaik trial, it would be a grave injustice if Shaik, effectively an ordinary citizen, were to languish in prison while his erstwhile partner could use his political influence to escape prosecution. Looking forward, with the judiciary and in fact the community at large under increasing pressure, if the due processes of the law are now prevented from taking their proper course it would set a precedent that bodes ill indeed for the future of just democratic governance in this country.

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