The woes of the former president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma is not over as he will in the coming weeks stand trial for the corruption allegations that have been on his neck for over a decade now. This comes just four weeks after the 75-year-old resigned as president under pressure from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Friday announced at a press conference in Pretoria that Mr Zuma would face 16 counts of corruption, money laundering, racketeering and fraud related to a government arms deal in the late 1990s.
“I am of the view that a trial court would be the most appropriate forum for these matters to be ventilated,” Mr Abrahams was quoted by local media, ENCA, adding that he felt there were “reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution of Mr Zuma.”
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The NPA indicted Zuma in 2007 after investigating charges that he took bribes from arms dealers. The charges were however dropped by the agency in 2009 shortly before Mr Zuma became president. South Africa’s largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance has since been fighting for years to have the charges against Mr Zuma reinstated. A court in April 2016 said that the NPA’s decision to withdraw the charges was irrational and made under political pressure, adding that Mr Zuma should face the charges as outlined in the indictment.
Mr Zuma appealed the ruling, but the Supreme Court of Appeal in October 2017 upheld the lower court’s decision that Mr Zuma should stand trial. Mr Zuma subsequently made efforts to avoid the charges in January, as he submitted arguments to the NPA why they should be dropped. But Mr Abrahams on Friday said the bid was unsuccessful.
“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.”
Zuma will now stand trial in his home province of Kwa-Zulu Natal. He has served as president since 2009 and has faced numerous allegations of corruption which he denies. Zuma has also survived several motions of no confidence.
After his resignation on February 14 this year, the leader of the ANC party and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as president following parliamentary approval.