ZUMA GOES TO WAR

It’s a bat­tle that will take place in the court and on the streets – and thou­sands will sup­port him

CityPress - - Front Page - SETUMO STONE AND S’THEMBILE CELE news@city­press.co.za

For­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma is plan­ning a long, drawn-out bat­tle to fight cor­rup­tion charges – a bat­tle that will take place in­side the courts and on the streets. But an in­creas­ingly dire fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion could ham­per the mul­ti­pronged strat­egy that Zuma and his sup­port­ers launched this week. City Press learnt that up to R1 mil­lion had to be hus­tled to­gether this week to foot the bill for buses, posters and T-shirts. This bled the shoe­string bud­get that had been put to­gether.

Zuma fi­nally had his day in court on Fri­day af­ter eight years of ex­haus­tive, but failed, le­gal chal­lenges to fend off the charges. He now plans a fresh round of ap­pli­ca­tions and ap­peals that could in­def­i­nitely de­lay the start of the trial, which the Na­tional Prose­cut­ing Au­thor­ity (NPA) wants to be­gin in Novem­ber.

Zuma’s le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives said they would lodge a re­view ap­pli­ca­tion against the NPA’s de­ci­sion to re­in­state charges against him which, they said, would be com­pleted by the end of May.

That ap­pli­ca­tion — should it fail — is likely to be fol­lowed by an ap­pli­ca­tion for a per­ma­nent stay of prose­cu­tion. The case was post­poned to June 8 but the state said it was ready for the trial to be­gin on Novem­ber 12.

One of the op­tions pre­vi­ously con­sid­ered by Zuma’s de­fence team was to raise as a de­fence the le­gal prin­ci­ple of dou­ble jeop­ardy — which pro­vides that a per­son can­not be charged for the same crime more than once.

‘DOWN WITH RAMAPHOSA’

The pro-Zuma cam­paign has ac­quired a dis­tinct anti-Ramaphosa tone.

When it kicked off on Thurs­day night with a night vigil at a park in cen­tral Durban, there was de­nun­ci­a­tion of Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and the new ANC lead­er­ship.

A speaker from the Umkhonto weSizwe Veterans’ As­so­ci­a­tion (MK) chanted: “Down with Cyril Ramaphosa, down,” to which the crowd re­sponded in af­fir­ma­tion.

The speaker, who was not iden­ti­fied by name, boasted that al­though he was not ed­u­cated he was trained to use guns. He said he re­jected the di­rec­tive of the ANC’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) not to as­so­ciate the party with Zuma’s trial.

Urg­ing the crowd to defy di­rec­tives from the “rot­ten” NEC, which served the in­ter­ests of the “Ru­perts and Op­pen­heimers”, he called for an ur­gent na­tional gen­eral council (NGC) which would re­move the cur­rent lead­er­ship. NGCs are nor­mally called half­way through the term of the lead­er­ship to as­sess the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the res­o­lu­tions of the last con­fer­ence.

The MK man said Ramaphosa was not talk­ing rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and was in­stead talk­ing con­cepts such as “new deal” and “new dawn” that were not known in the ANC. “How can such a per­son lead us?” he asked.

The de­fi­ance of Ramaphosa and his ex­ec­u­tive was ap­par­ent by the pres­ence of sev­eral NEC mem­bers at the court hear­ing.

Even the ANC’s elec­tions head, Fik­ile Mbalula, ap­peared to be pri­vately back­ing the Zuma cause. Mbalula was heard in an au­dio record­ing on Fri­day – the authen­tic­ity of which was ver­i­fied – ques­tion­ing the ANC’s stance on Zuma.

“The only thing which is the prob­lem is the ANC’s new lead­er­ship is ac­tu­ally in­volv­ing it­self in a case that they do not know by mak­ing stupid calls and many other things,” Mbalula said in a dis­cus­sion.

The only thing which is the prob­lem is the ANC’s new lead­er­ship is ac­tu­ally in­volv­ing it­self in a case that they do not know by mak­ing stupid calls and many other things

Mbalula said it was wrong for the ANC to say that peo­ple must not go to court and even treat Zuma as if he is con­victed when he is just an ac­cused.

‘MONEY WOES’

City Press has learnt that de­spite de­ter­mined fundrais­ing ef­forts “fun­ders are not as easy to come by as they were in the past and that’s quite a ma­jor is­sue”.

Zuma sup­port­ers are now plan­ning to re­vive the Friends of Ja­cob Zuma cam­paign plat­form — which was the cen­tral por­tal for pro-Zuma mes­sages and fundrais­ing ef­forts be­fore he be­came pres­i­dent in 2009.

Zuma suf­fered a blow on Fri­day when the pres­i­dency took a de­ci­sion to with­draw an ap­peal against a judg­ment for which he per­son­ally will carry the costs for his at­tempts to have for­mer public pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela’s state cap­ture re­port set aside.

Adding to Zuma’s le­gal woes is the DA’s Pre­to­ria High Court ap­pli­ca­tion for the state to stop fund­ing his lawyers. DA fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive chair­per­son James Selfe said Zuma had at least two weeks to file re­spond­ing pa­pers to its ap­pli­ca­tion.

“They have not lodged their pa­pers yet so we will know only in a week and a half what their [Zuma’s le­gal team] de­fence will be,” Selfe said.

Zuma camp in­sid­ers said de­lays in the fil­ing of his court pa­pers were as a re­sult of un­cer­tainty about whether the state will con­tinue to pay his le­gal fees.

‘TAK­ING THE BAT­TLE TO THE STREETS’

The loose group­ings sur­round­ing Zuma – which in­clude taxi as­so­ci­a­tions, funeral un­der­tak­ers and charis­matic churches – in­tend to stage a fierce fight­back to in­ten­sify the “street bat­tle” that be­gan this week.

Speak­ing to thou­sands of sup­port­ers out­side the court on Fri­day, Zuma sig­nalled that the fight would take place on many lev­els. He raised ques­tions about whether he would have a fair trial given that these charges had been in the public do­main since 2005.

He led the crowd in singing Sengi­manxe­banxeba, a fa­mous Zulu song as­so­ci­ated with reg­i­ments and which talks of be­trayal by one’s own com­rades.

Zuma said that Judge Chris Ni­chol­son had found cor­rectly in 2008 that there were po­lit­i­cal ma­noeu­vres be­hind the case, de­spite the fact that his rul­ing was over­turned on ap­peal.

In his speech Zuma said he would de­fend him­self. He said sev­eral times, to loud cheers, that it was a pity that beat­ing up peo­ple was no longer al­lowed other­wise he would have re­sorted to that.

He launched into a fa­mous Zulu war song Ngi­manxeba ng­inje, which talks of be­trayal by one’s own com­rades.

‘DIS­CREDIT THE JU­DI­CIARY’

Zuma’s corner in­cludes seek­ing a ju­di­cial re­view based on al­le­ga­tions lo­cally and abroad in the UK that the South African ju­di­ciary is com­pro­mised and can­not give him a fair trial.

The ar­gu­ment re­gard­ing the cred­i­bil­ity of the courts is fo­cused on the Le­gal Re­sources Cen­tre (LRC), a public in­ter­est and hu­man rights law clinic. Many of South Africa’s judges have at some point or an­other been as­so­ci­ated with the LRC, serv­ing as trustees or do­ing pro-bono work for the non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion (NGO) when they were prac­tis­ing lawyers.

The LRC, ac­cord­ing to Zuma sym­pa­this­ers, is funded by the same or­gan­i­sa­tions that fund a num­ber of NGOs that have taken gov­ern­ment to court and in most cases got favourable judg­ments.

A UK cit­i­zen named Justin Lewis has writ­ten to Chief Jus­tice Mo­go­eng Mo­go­eng and Ramaphosa call­ing on them to cease the Zuma trial pend­ing fi­nal­ity of in­ves­ti­ga­tions in the UK courts and a UK par­lia­men­tary in­quiry into “cor­rup­tion in SA af­fect­ing UK in­sti­tu­tions”.

Zuma’s son, Ed­ward, told City Press that he was aware of the UK in­ves­ti­ga­tions and there was a co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment be­tween him and those be­hind the cases to sup­port the charges of state cap­ture that he had laid against busi­ness ty­coon Jo­hann Ru­pert.

‘NO FAIR TRIAL’

Close Zuma ally Carl Niehaus said: “The most im­por­tant ar­gu­ment is that you need to have a free and fair trial, which is pro­vided for in the Con­sti­tu­tion and ev­ery­one is en­ti­tled to be pre­sumed in­no­cent un­til proven guilty.

“The le­gal ar­gu­ment for me that is the strong­est is that af­ter 15 years of neg­a­tive pub­lic­ity and at­tacks against Zuma, how did that poi­son the gen­eral at­mos­phere and how does that in­flu­ence the pos­si­bil­ity of a fair trial?”

Niehaus said: “The ju­di­ciary has to ad­dress this is­sue.” He said there had def­i­nitely been po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence from the be­gin­ning of the case in 2003.

“We seem to have for­got­ten what (for­mer NPA head) Bule­lani Ngcuka did when he held a spe­cial brief­ing with jour­nal­ists and tried to con­vince them that there was a prima fa­cie case to in­flu­ence the whole event.”

Black First Land First leader Andile Mngxi­tama said that “the first big ques­tion that must be over­come by the state is the ques­tion of jus­tice de­layed is jus­tice de­nied”.

“It is clear that they have a very weak case and this is just po­lit­i­cal per­se­cu­tion.”

He ques­tioned the NPA’s flip-flop on the de­ci­sion to pros­e­cute, say­ing “it is po­lit­i­cal pres­sure and I think Zuma will make a big point about that”. What do you think of the way Zuma has acted? TALK TO US SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word TRIAL and tell us what you think. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50

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