DA wants transparency on how much govt spent on Zuma charges

DA leader Mmusi Maimane says he wants Ramaphosa to be transparent concerning the state’s agreement with Zuma.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it wants a tally of how much money the state has spent on former president Jacob Zuma’s fees and for him to pay it back.

President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed last week that the state had entered into an agreement with Zuma to pay for his legal defence.

The DA says this deal can’t be legal.

The party has welcomed the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)’s decision to reinstate fraud and corruption charges against Zuma but its leader Mmusi Maimane says the former president must foot the bill himself.

“Otherwise all of us must be entitled to legal protection from the state. The former president Mr Zuma was facing these charges as a private citizen, the case was the Democratic Alliance vs Mr ZG Zuma.”

Maimane says he wants Ramaphosa to be transparent concerning the state’s agreement with Zuma.

He says he believes that agreement could be in principle illegal and irrational.

'ANC MUST TAKE BLAME'

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) says the African National Congress (ANC) must take responsibility for protecting former president Jacob Zuma against attempts to bring him to justice.

Zuma will be prosecuted on 16 charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering in connection with the arms deal scandal.

Saftu says there was a deliberate effort by the ruling party to ensure that no such charges were ever brought.

Saftu’s Patrick Craven says, “The ANC as a whole has done nothing to bring these charges to court and we think it’s pure opportunism that now, suddenly, they’re being forced by the pressure from below, from trade unions, civil society and individuals who say something must be done to put stop to this scourge of corruption.”

Craven said: “It has raised the question why the ANC as a whole has blocked any attempt to push ahead with these charges. The ANC as a whole including its former deputy president has done nothing to bring these charges to court.”

But the decision to prosecute the ex-president doesn't stop there for some, the Democratic Alliance as well as Saftu, want NPA head, Shaun Abrahams to go.

Craven said: “The big question then will be who will replace him and I hope that the new head of the NPA will not hesitate to bring additional charges as and when new evidence becomes available which I’m sure it will if not already there on their files.”

Civil society group, Unite Behind's Matthew Hirsch, says the move to prosecute Zuma is long overdue.

“This was in light of the fact that Shaun Abrahams had given Zuma an outrageous deadline of 30 November as to why he should not be charged with corruption, this deadline was further extended into 2018. We also call for Mr Shaun Abrahams to step down as the head of the NPA.”

ZUMA CONSIDERS APPEAL

Zuma could challenge a decision by the NPA to reinstate criminal charges against him.

His lawyer, Michael Hulley is reportedly considering taking the decision on review.

Abrahams said he notified the former president earlier on Friday of his decision.

He explained that Zuma’s representations were unsuccessful.

“Mr Zuma’s representation, broadly speaking, largely relates to allegations of a prosecution characterised by prosecutorial manipulation, impropriety, fair trial abuses, prosecutorial misconduct, deliberate leaking of information to the media and irrational decisions made by various national directors and/or acting national directors of public prosecution.”

Abrahams said Zuma disputes all the allegations against him, and that he lacked the requisite intent to commit the crimes.