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December 29, 2007

South African prosecutors charge ANC leader Jacob Zuma with corruption

South African prosecutors charge ANC leader Jacob Zuma with corruption

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

File:JacobZuma.jpg

Jacob Zuma.
Image: GCIS South Africa.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Corruption-related charges have been brought against Jacob Zuma, the newly-elected leader of the African National Congress (ANC), according to his lawyer. A trial is scheduled to begin on August 14, 2008.

The charges stem from an arms deal with a French company, which is alleged to have involved bribes and fraud. Zuma’s financial adviser at the time, Schabir Shaik, was convicted in 2005 of attempting to solicit a bribe of US$72,500 per year from the arms company on Zuma’s behalf and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Zuma was fired as deputy president in 2005 by South African President Thabo Mbeki due to the scandal.

Two-term ANC leader Mbeki recently lost an ANC leadership contest to Jacob Zuma, who garnered about 60 percent of delegate votes in his win.

Zuma had been charged with corruption in 2005, but the case was dismissed on procedural grounds. Michael Hulley, Zuma’s defence lawyer, indicated that they will strongly contest the new charges in court. Hulley also suggested that the South African government’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and its anti-organised crime division known as The Scorpions, have carried out a smear campaign against Zuma.

“These charges will be vigorously defended, in the context of the belief that the Scorpions (NPA) have acted wrongly and with improper motive calculated to discredit Mr. Zuma and ensure that he play no leadership role in the political future of our country,” said Michael Hulley in a statement.

Given that the ANC has been the governing party in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994, it is likely that Jacob Zuma could become the next president after general elections in 2009. Zuma has said, however, that he would resign if he was found guilty by the courts.



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June 14, 2005

South African president dismisses deputy on implications of corruption

South African president dismisses deputy on implications of corruption

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

File:JacobZuma.jpg

Jacob Zuma (file)
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Today at about 1600 UTC/GMT, South African President Thabo Mbeki announced in a special session of parliament that he has taken action he feels is necessary, that is to “release [his deputy president], Jacob Zuma, from his responsibilities as deputy president of the republic and member of the cabinet”.

Zuma was implicated in corruption arising from his relationship with his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, who was convicted of corruption and fraud earlier this month. Shaik was found guilty by Durban High Court of two counts of corruption and one of fraud and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

The President has called this one of his toughest decisions. Opposition leader of the Democratic Alliance immediately praised the president for holding “principle over politics”, and, while deeply saddened, former president Nelson Mandela supported Mbeki’s decision. Jacob Zuma was the favourite of the ruling African National Congress party to succeed Thabo Mbeki as president.

Following this ordeal, the government of South Africa has reaffirmed its dedication to the reduction and eventual elimination of corruption in all areas of politics.

UPDATE (July 7)

The African National Congress held a meeting of it’s National General Council over the weekend of 2-3 July. Zuma attracted a lot of favourable attention, mostly from people who wished to defeat policy initiatives that included relaxing some of the legal constraints on employers. He was reinstated as ANC deputy president and, in a first for the party, granted a salary (details not revealed). It now appears that Jacob Zuma’s political future is closely tied to that of the “left wing” of the ANC.



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