Zuma blames Mbeki and NPA

2018-11-28 12:04
Former president Jacob Zuma has filed his papers in his bid for a stay of prosecution on the corruption charges relating to the arms deal. He is due to appear in the high court in Pietermaritzburg on Friday.

Former president Jacob Zuma has filed his papers in his bid for a stay of prosecution on the corruption charges relating to the arms deal. He is due to appear in the high court in Pietermaritzburg on Friday. (Leon Botha)

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After years of veiled attacks, Jacob Zuma has finally directly accused Thabo Mbeki of being the architect behind his prosecution on corruption charges.

The former president also launched a fresh attack on the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) bosses, saying their 2005 decision to charge him was motivated by ANC internal politics.

Zuma, who has made the claims in court papers filed by his lawyers in the KZN High Court as part of his application for a permanent stay of prosecution, said the NPA bosses had charged him to appease then president Mbeki.

The papers, which were filed two weeks ago, were only released to the media this week.

Citing a number of issues, such as the spy tapes that he claims have weakened the state’s case against him, Zuma said there was ample evidence showing that then NPA boss Vusi Pikoli charged him for ulterior reasons.

Pikoli charged Zuma in 2005 shortly after Mbeki had sacked Zuma as deputy president.

“It would clearly have been seen as the cynical removal of a rival if president Mbeki had removed me as deputy president and I had not been charged.

“For my removal as deputy president to ever have any credibility, I simply have to be prosecuted at all costs.

“The political rivalry between president Mbeki and me, and our respective camps, clearly intensified in mid-2005. Pikoli, who had been appointed a few months earlier by president Mbeki … was clearly alive to these issues,” Zuma said in his court papers.

He will appear in the Pietermaritzburg high court on Friday following the NPA’s decision earlier this year to reinstate corruption charges that were dropped in 2009.

The charges relate to the arms deal in the 1990s.

In the 300-page document that forms part of his application, Zuma accuses the NPA of leaking information about its decisions around his case in order to ruin his political career.

“Without due processes or court determination of any guilt or otherwise, I have faced public and media prosecution engineered and orchestrated by the NPA itself, the result of which is that my name has already been made to be synonymous with corruption,” he said.

Then acting NPA head, Mokotedi Mpshe, in 2009 dropped the corruption charges against Zuma, only for former NPA head Shaun Abrahams to reinstate the charges in March this year.

Even after the charges had been dropped, Zuma said, the media campaign against him did not stop, with some journalists going the extent of writing books painting him as a corrupt person.

“Those reports and book chapters have been part of the anti-Zuma grand narrative designed to prejudice me and declare me synonymous with crime and corruption.

“… I have suffered irreparable public prejudice as a result of the well-calculated stratagem of trying me in the court of public opinion,” he said.

Zuma, who in February was removed from office by the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC), is now fighting for his freedom after his camp lost control of the ruling party in last year’s national conference were President Cyril Ramaphosa’s camp prevailed.

Even though Zuma made it clear that his application was not meant to garner sympathy, the former president nevertheless took the court through his personal life as a young boy growing in the poverty-stricken village of Nkandla.

“I became politically active at a very young age. I was born of working class poor rural family and my mother was a domestic worker in the area of Durban.

“I do not have a formal education at all, I am self-taught and attribute everything I know to the experience and political education I obtained through my involvement in the anti-apartheid struggle,” he said.

While the corruption charges were formally put to him in 2005, Zuma said he had been under investigation since around 2001.

The lengthy period over which the corruption charges had been hanging over his head, Zuma said, had taken its toll on him.

“The personal strain on me and my family since then was immense,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  jacob zuma

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