Malema: Dark forces at work

2009-01-15 22:12

Johannesburg - The National Prosecuting Authority must "save the country" by dropping graft charges against presidential front-runner Jacob Zuma, the ANC's youth leader said on Thursday.

"We are not retreating from our call that the NPA must drop charges because there are no winnable charges against the president of the ANC," said African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema.

"They [the NPA] must save this country, they must act in the interest of the country, they must drop the charges and then we proceed," Malema told reporters in Johannesburg.

He was briefing the media on the ANCYL's reaction to a Supreme Court of Appeal judgment on Monday which in effect saw corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering charges re-instituted against Zuma.

Malema said the ANC would not amend the Constitution to protect Zuma from a trial.

"We're not going to agree to any changing of the Constitution to accommodate an individual. This is the Constitution of the people of South Africa. It will never be amended to suit an individual.

"We don't think our president will be in and out of courts when he becomes president of the republic... But what is wrong with the president of the country being in and out of court?" asked Malema.

"There is nothing wrong. He's a citizen of this country. If there is any issue, he must answer. For as long as it's still an allegation, we don't see anything wrong, not at all," said Malema.

No legal amendment

ANC spokesperson Carl Niehaus confirmed that the ruling party would not seek a legal amendment to protect Zuma.

"There's no intention to changing the Constitution whatsoever," said Niehaus. "I'd spoken my tongue blunt on this... we will seek a legal answer, not a political solution."

Malema said another possibility was to apply for a permanent stay of prosecution.

"The permanent stay is also an option. Most of the issues that Judge Nicholson mentioned in the judgment... we think they will equally again sit very well on the permanent stay," he said, referring to Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Chris Nicholson's ruling which was this week overturned by the SCA.

"On the permanent stay, we are going to argue... the political events which make us... suspect that our president will not get a fair trial."

Dark forces

The Nicholson judgment also inferred there was political meddling in the decision to re-charge Zuma, a finding that ultimately led to the axing of president Thabo Mbeki.

Malema warned that "dark forces" were at work against Zuma and implied that the five judges of the SCA had been influenced in their judgment in favour of the NPA.

"Judges can be spoken to by any other person, knowing the tendency of these ones who are against us. They [the 'dark forces'] travel at night. They've got the potential to do anything...

"Courts must be above political games. They must not interfere."

He added, however, that the ANCYL had "confidence in the courts but it doesn't mean you can't criticise".

Asked who the "dark forces" behind the so-called political conspiracy against Zuma were, Malema replied: "They have left the ANC. Those are the forces who are working on us. Those that have left this organisation.

Imperialist agents

"They were doing it from within. They failed. Then they left. They're doing it form outside now because they think they can mobilise our people against this glorious movement and they are working with the imperialists, the former colonisers, to try and destabilise this country.

"It's an agenda to destabilise liberation movements in Africa."

Malema said former ANC chairperson, Terror Lekota, who has since started the breakaway movement, the Congress of the People, had held meetings in Namibia and Kenya with politicians who share his sentiments.

They were "imperialist agents", said Malema.

"Their moves are well-calculated... They are well-resourced. Don't underestimate a man who is well-resourced in a capitalist society," he added.