Opposition Parties on Friday hurled a murmur of relief following the hotly anticipated announcement to reinstate charges against former President Jacob Zuma.
This is a sequel to almost a decade-long legal tussle waged by opposition parties to throw defiant former President Zuma in the dock to answer criminal indictment.
National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Shaun Abrahams announced on Friday the decision to continue with Zuma’s criminal trial.
Zuma will confront 16 of the 18 charges relating to 12 counts of fraud, one of money laundering, two of corruption, and one count of racketeering.
Welcoming the long-awaited decision by Abrahams to prosecute Zuma, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said the announcement comes after many years of manipulation of legal processes attempting to maintain a strategic distance from this inescapable outcome.
EFF National Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the Zuma corruption trial will give an impartial stage to all issues identifying with restoring his charges as clarified by Abrahams.
Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader Mmusi Maimane trusts the announcement is a vindication of the decision to challenge the dropping of the charges.
Maimane said this is a triumph for all who have battled for a considerable length of time for Zuma to confront responsibility for his criminal accusations.
“That accountability starts now. We will also fight to ensure the public do not have to carry the costs of Zuma’s defence, as they have already done for the past 9 years,” added Maimane.
Maimane said the witnesses are prepared, the confirmation is solid, and Jacob Zuma must have his day in court.
He added they will brief their legal team to oppose any effort by Zuma to postpone this any further.
“I thank the majority of the legal teams who have pursued this ‘lawfare’ throughout the years. Their effort and dedication have defeated Zuma’s endless delay tactics,” said Maimane.
Shabir Shaik was found liable on charges of corruption and fraud relating to Arms Deal on April 7, 2005.
Judge Squires’ judgment elucidated that Zuma should also be charged and that the confirmation for this was “persuading and overpowering”.
Maimane stressed that Shaik and Zuma’s trials ought to never have been separated in any case, saying the decision to reinstate the charges ought not to have been a troublesome one.
Zuma’s day in court is years late and the NPA’s prosecution team have said there was a solid case on the merits.
Charges were struck off the roll due to the notorious Spy Tapes.
In April 2009, former acting NDDP Mokotedi Mpshe SC withdrew charges against Zuma in the Durban High Court.
He felt that the Spy Tapes had prejudiced Zuma and had made the trial uncalled for toward him.
Maimane said they challenged this decision in court and this is what we have been fighting for the past nine years, which has now been vindicated.
Meanwhile, EFF has also called on Abrahams to step down as NDPP.
“The courts have declared that his appointment was illegitimate and thus he has to step down. Nothing will further restore confidence in the NPA than a new and fresh NDPP,” added Ndlozi.