Reinstatement of charges against Jacob Zuma welcomed

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Pretoria, March 17 (IANS) South African political parties, former presidents and civil society have welcomed the reinstatement of corruption charges against former President Jacob Zuma.

The country’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Friday announced that Zuma will be charged for corruption, racketeering and money laundering which were dropped in 2009, Xinhua news agency reported.

Former President Frederik de Klerk welcomed the reinstatement of the charges against Zuma.

De Klerk said there is a lot of public interest in the case and called for NPA to prosecute without fear or favour.

“While the successful prosecution of highly-connected political figures will go some way towards assuaging the angst-ridden South African public, it is still not enough to fully restore confidence in this vital institution,” said the FW de Klerk Foundation in a statement.

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“More than that, the NPA needs to make good on its word concerning the investigations into State Capture. Perhaps that will be the catalyst for the NPA towards reclaiming their constitutionally-appointed role as an institution that upholds justice and the Rule of Law,” the statement said.

The Opposition political party, Democratic Alliance (DA) applied to the courts for the charges against Zuma to be reinstated.

The DA welcomed the charges against Zuma and said he should quickly be brought before the courts.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said: “This is a victory for all who have fought for years for Jacob Zuma to face accountability for his crimes. That accountability starts now. Now there must be no further delay in starting the trial. The witnesses are ready, the evidence is strong, and Jacob Zuma must finally have his day in court.”

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Maimane said they will instruct their lawyers to oppose any attempt by Zuma to delay the trial. DA also wants Zuma to foot the legal bills.

In the past nine years Zuma spent over $1.3 million in legal costs trying to block the reinstatement of the charges.

Another political party, Economic Freedom Party (EFF) also welcomed the charges against Zuma. EFF said prosecuting Zuma will send a strong warning that all are equal before the law.

Quintin Ndlozi, EFF spokesperson, said: “It is important to state that no one, even former presidents, is above the law. The principle of equality before the law means we must all be equally held accountable for the deeds deemed illegal regardless of our social and political standing.”

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“The prosecution of Zuma will send a strong message to all kleptomaniacs within and outside the government that they can never loot the state and not meet the consequences thereof.”

The local affiliate of French arms company, Thales will also be prosecuted. Thales won a $217 million tender to supply South Africa with combat systems for four frigates procured by the navy.

–IANS

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