Pretoria, South Africa: South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma, 75, will stand trial on 16 fraud, corruption and racketeering charges, National Prosecution Authority, NPA, chief Shaun Abrahams, announced Friday, a month after he was forced to resign from office. The charges which related to 783 payments from his former advisor Shabir Shaik, had been shelved in 2009 when Zuma became President.
“On the facts of this matter and in the interests of transparency, the interests of the administration of justice and in the interests of the National Prosecuting Authority, I am of the view that a trial court would be the most appropriate forum for these issues to be ventilated and to be decided upon. After consideration of the matter, I am of the view that there are reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution of Mr Zuma.” Prosecutor Shaun Abrahams said.
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 added.
Abrahams says Zuma disputes all the allegations against him, and that he lacked the requisite intent to commit the crimes.
On February 14 Zuma reluctantly stepped down under pressure from his ANC party in the face of mounting allegations, the latest revolving around his business friends, the Guptas who allegedly had undue influence on his adminstration.
Here are five of the biggest scandals that Zuma has been linked to:
After protracted back-and-forth court cases, the National Prosecuting Authority in March 2018 decided Zuma was liable to face prosecution on corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering charges involving almost 800 counts relating to a 1990s arms deal.
The accusations relate to a multi-billion-dollar arms deal signed in 1999, when Zuma was deputy president. He and other oficials allegedly accepted bribes from five European arms manufacturers to influence the choice of weaponry.
Zuma’s advisor, Schabir Shaik, was jailed for 15 years in 2005. He was released on medical parole in 2009, the year Zuma became president.
The former president faces jail for the criminal charges over the hundreds of payments valued at $345,00, he allegedly received.
Zuma was found by the country’s graft watchdog in 2014 to have “benefited unduly” from so-called security upgrades to his rural Nkandla residence in KwaZulu-Natal province. It said he should refund some of the money.
The work, paid for with taxpayers’ money, cost $24 million (22 million euros) and included a swimming pool, which was described as a fire-fighting facility, a cattle enclosure, an amphitheatre and a visitors’ centre.
For two years, Zuma fought the order to repay part of the money. The scandal came to dominate his presidency — with opposition lawmakers chanting “Pay back the money!” every time he appeared in parliament.
In March 2016 he was ordered by the Constitutional Court to pay back the cash and suffered a stinging rebuke from the justices who accused him of failing to respect and uphold the constitution.
As the Nkandla debacle built to a climax, its place in the headlines was overtaken by a new scandal, known as Guptagate.
It involved the president’s allegedly corrupt relationship with a wealthy family of Indian immigrants headed by three brothers — Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta — who built a business empire in mining, media, technology and engineering.
Smouldering rumours of the family’s undue influence on the president burst into flames in 2016 when evidence emerged they allegedly offered key government jobs to those who might help their business interests.
Ousted deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas revealed that the Guptas had offered him a promotion shortly before Zuma sacked respected finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in December 2015.
The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) laid corruption charges against the Guptas and Zuma’s son Duduzane.
Rape charges and HIV
Before taking office, Zuma was put on trial in 2006 for rape, in a case that dismayed many South Africans.
Zuma said the sax with the 31-year-old family friend was consensual and he was acquitted.
But he told the court he had showered to avoid contracting HIV after having unprotected sax with his HIV-positive accuser — a common but dangerous myth.
Zuma was head of the South African National AIDS Council at the time, and was pilloried for his ignorance.
He is still mocked in newspaper cartoons, which often depict him with a shower nozzle sprouting from his bald head.
Nearly a fifth of South Africans aged between 15 and 49 are HIV-positive.
In March 2016 the South African Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a judgement that the failure by Zuma’s government to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was illegal.
Despite an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes in the conflict in Darfur, Bashir was allowed to attend a meeting of the African Union in Johannesburg in 2015.
The government said the fact that he was attending the summit as a head of state meant he had immunity, but the court disagreed.
Zuma escaped an impeachment attempt over the issue in parliament in September 2016, when ANC lawmakers voted overwhelmingly against it.
Social Media On Zuma Charges
Gadabi Khanari @BingiRasKhanari: In 2007 when #ZumaCharges were dropped Nasty C was 11 years old, Babes Wodumo was 13 and Casper Nyovest was 17. we have been waiting for over a decade can Shaun The Sheep DM the decision already.
Sithembiso @Telele_sbn: In South Afrca you announce that you’re going to make a decision, then you announce that you’ve made a decision, and then you announce that you’re going to make an announcement on the decision you have made… #ZumaCharges #ShaunAbrahams
Sagittarian Sage: @wisebutwily: #ZumaCharges – Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder – George Washington. Zuma is not one of those few.
Gontse @Gontse010: On the issue of why the apartheid bustards like P.W Botha & F.W de Klerk were not arrested I believe the ANC can answer that question better since they led the negotiations back then. #ZumaCharges
LAND! LAND! LAND! @Simiso101: Here is another distraction to real issues of this country. The LAND issue will now take a back seat, the nationalization of SARB will now take a back seat. Well played media. #ZumaCharges.
Azania Afrika @SAYoungLion: Terminally ill Shabir Shaik said I quote “I wanna be there when Jacob Zuma is prosecuted. I wanna be there when he’s sent to jail. I wanna lend a hand. Send me to testify” Thuma mina NPA #ShabirShaik #ZumaCharges
Me @galagatshaneout: There are 16 Mayors defending #Zuma on Twitter. Start looking for the Title Deeds of our RDP houses, land & tenders that these Mayors and Councillors have stolen. They must sit in the same jail as their hero! Sekunjalo! #ZumaCharges.
Bongi Mogale @Bongi43: I reckon #JacobZuma has had enough of 2018: recalled as president, his Gupta mate is a fugitive, his son is wanted by parliament, and now corruption charges reinstated. It’s been rough and it’s only March! #ZumaCharges.
Thadishe Pediguy @thadishe: Now that we can prosecute A former President Zuma on allegations of corruption. Is it not Time that we also Revisit The prosecution of former president De Clerck & other apartheid officials For crimes against Humanity during apartheid? #JacobZuma #ZumaCharges #ShaunAbrahams.
Man’s Not Barry Roux @AdvBarryRoux: All along Jacob Zuma has been banking on the political support he thought he has….. but the disburdnment of ANC KZN leadership crippled him. #ZumaCharges #ShaunAbrahams #JacobZuma.
Msizi @TheBlackspice: Think about this #JacobZuma was very powerful DP. and he was able to influence the entire multibillion rand #ArmsDeal to his favour & President #ThaboMbeki,Minister of Finance #TrevorManuel and #Joemodise who was Minister of Defence & cabinet could not control him.#ZumaCharges.
Liam @williammalimane: So are we just gonna act like #JacobZuma is not a flight risk? #ZumaCharges.
Women In Forex @QueenTwerkSA: Im tired of Zuma this ,Zuma that. Make up or no make up?which one do you love? #ZumaCharged #ShaunAbrahams #JacobZuma #ZumaCharges.
Women In Forex @QueenTwerkSA: I didn’t believe it when read in the news that Riri is dating a guy from Orange Farm. Wow Love is really blind . Whats your take?. I first thought it was a photoshop but it wasn’t. #Rihanna #ZumaCharges #JacobZuma.
Son of rain Queen @MafambaT: Dear Msholozi No matter how dirty your past is, your future is still spotless.Be thankful for all the struggles you go through. They make you stronger, wiser and humble. Don’t let it break you let it make you #ZumaCharges #JacobZuma.
Eusebius McKaiser @Eusebius: Former President #JacobZuma must be DELIGHTED to finally have his opportunity to be found not guilty of corruption. Hey?!.
KiratLalla @KiratLalla: Arms deal whistle blower and Cape Town Mayor @PatriciaDeLille says she is ready to testify in the corruption trial of former President #JacobZuma #armsdeal. The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association also known as – #MKMVA – says it’s unlikely that former President #JacobZuma would not get a fair trial in South Africa. #sabcnews.
Mazambani @SoccerZen: DA: Zuma must pay his own legal fees. #JacobZuma: but I’ve already payed my lawyers in advance, hehehe!.
BNW BREAKING NEWS @BraveNewWorldd: BREAKING NEWS: Trump says corruption charges against Jacob Zuma are fake news and a witch hunt. South Africa may be a sh*thole country, but you don’t prosecute your President, he said. #AlternativeFacts #ZumaCharges #JacobZuma #Trump #TrumpLies.