No denying discrepancies in the legal system

2008-09-13 00:00

ever before in the history of this country, pre- or post- apartheid, has any single leader been given as much support as Jacob Zuma. Nelson Mandela and company did receive support but just about everyone knew that the system was designed to swallow them as they stood no chance. And yes, the system did swallow them. Besides, they were a group of people and not a single individual as it is in Zuma’s case.

If the charges against Zuma are born of political machinations, as has been countlessly stated by his supporters and fellow comrades, the plotters and manufacturers of the case must have gravely underestimated the humble leader from rural iNkandla.

No one would have predicted that this would have come this far and that what has happened could have taken place.

However, if there is substance in the charges against Zuma, he should then answer to the courts of the land. Some have said that going to court would short-change him and that he has been trying to avoid going to court because “he’s guilty”. I ask: how so when he has not been tried in a court of law?

To the contrary, I think going to court would do a lot of good for him as, for one, it would remove the constant cloud that has been hanging over his head for the past eight years. Actually, not going to court will leave unanswered questions until the day he dies.

If the prosecution decides to reinstate charges against Zuma after yesterday’s defeat at the hand of Judge Chris Nicholson, this will be a true test for the country’s courts and this will largely determine how the people of this country and the world will continue to look at them post the Zuma trial.

I am of the school of thought that all institutions of this country need to be transformed, including our courts, and this is long overdue. Those who held senior positions in the system during the old order cannot continue to do so exclusively under the new dispensation.

This leads to questions such as how did the white chap who threw a black man into the lion’s den only serve two years, while a black purse snatcher gets 15 years for his efforts? There are huge discrepancies in the legal system, which cannot be challenged or denied and these need to be dealt with sooner rather than later.

Many unknown and insignificant people have received the short end of the stick from the legal system but these are never taken up because the country’s future is not dependant on them, as it is the case with Zuma.

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