After a nine-year-long legal battle that has cost the South African taxpayer more than R15 million in legal fees, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will reinstate fraud and corruption charges against former President Jacob Zuma.
NPA boss, Shaun Abrahams, announced earlier that, "there is a reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution. Zuma’s representations are unsuccessful."
The former president faces 18 charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering related to 783 payments from his former advisor, Shabir Shaik.
Last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal set aside the 2009 decision to withdraw the case against the former president. At the end of January 2018, Zuma submitted reasons why his day in court should be dismissed, which lead to a four-week-long study of Zuma's submission by five senior state prosecutors.
Abrahams received a recommendation from the prosecutors two weeks ago and stated then that he was ready to make his announcement. He had already informed Zuma before the announcement today.
According to Eye Witness News, "It's understood more than 200 witnesses have already confirmed their availability to testify if Zuma’s case goes on trial".
Willie Madisha, deputy president of the Congress of the People, released this statement:
End of a despicable and sorry period - Cope no Zuma charges
The Congress of the People welcomes the decision of the NDPP to prosecute former President of the Republic and of the ANC, Jacob Zuma, on fraud, corruption and racketeering charges.
This brings to an end a despicable and sorry period in our post-apartheid era.
It remains unconscionable in the first instance that the ANC sought it fit to subject our Country and its people to such a discredited individual.
The damage inflicted by this corruptible and corrupted person becomes more evident and damning with each passing day.
In welcoming this decision, South Africans must take note of how various NDPP’s and the NPA itself conspired with Zuma to drop his prosecution despite the damming judgement against Shabir Shaik; how the NPA and then President Zuma conspired and adopted lawfare-like Stalingrad tactics to avoid the release the Spy Tapes upon which the decision to drop the charges was based; and how the NPA and then President Zuma conspired and abused every avenue to avoid and delay the re-instatement of the charges.
South Africans must take note how the ANC allowed Zuma to decimate and practically destroy the careers of certain NDPP’s and the independence of the NPA in abusing his office and powers to avoid his day in court.
It is a moot point that the decision to prosecute Zuma is only being made following his removal from office. It points to an NPA unable to act independently and without fear or favour.
It will take time and effort to rebuild the integrity of and South African’s trust in the NPA and indeed our criminal justice system.
Finally, regardless of today’s decision COPE remains adamant that Abrahams is unfit to hold office and must go.