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Saftu: ANC must take responsibility for shielding Zuma on corruption charges

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

Jacob Zuma delivering an address on 14 February 2018 in which he announced his resignation as president of South Africa. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG – 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.

This follows the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)’s decision to reinstate charges of corruption against Zuma which were dropped in 2009.

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.