The South African Federation of Trade Unions welcomes today’s ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), which dismissed, with costs, an attempt by President Jacob Zuma to overturn a previous ruling that he could face 783 fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering charges.
SAFTU demands that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and its Director, Shawn Abrahams, immediately stop looking for further excuses for not taking the action which the Constitution requires of him – to reinstate all the charges without any further delay.
The SCA unanimously refused to overturn a Pretoria High Court judgment, which it said “cannot be faulted”, that the decision in 2009 to withdraw the 783 criminal charges was ‘irrational’ and ruled that the charges must be reinstated.
Justice Eric Leach pointed to a number of ways in which Mokotedi Mpshe’s decision was irrational – including the fact that the prosecution team had been excluded from the decision – and that it was difficult to understand why the present regime at the NPA believed the decision could be defended.
The only legal escape route for the President could be an appeal to the Constitutional Court, but even Zuma’s own lawyer, Kemp J Kemp, conceded in court that Mpshe’s decision was taken under the wrong section of the Constitution and that – in line with an earlier judgment of the Constitutional Court – this invalidated the decision.
SAFTU however demands that Advocate Abrahams refuses to drag that case out with any more appeals and acts in line with the constitution and the public interest to give Zuma his day in court, when he can defend himself.
SAFTU calls on Jacob Zuma to step down before the end of this day. If he refuses to do so, we call on the people of South Africa to once again unite through their organisations and occupy the streets to demand that he step down.
We call for an immediate consultation between all civil society formations and whatever other South Africans who want to defend the rule of law to join hands in an non-partisan fashion to force Zuma out whilst he clears his name in court.
South Africans are sick and angry at the continuing flood of allegations of corruption, fraud and the looting of the country’s resources by member of government, heads of state-owned enterprises and private businesses. They are even more sickened by the NPA’s refusal so far to take any of the cases to court, despite the overwhelming evidence from whistle-blowers and leaked e-mails.
Prosecuting the President now would be a sign that the tide is turning, and that from now on there will be zero-tolerance of corruption. The key player is Advocate Abrahams. If he once again tries to dodge his constitutional duty and fails to prosecute Zuma and all the others implicated, he himself becomes a guilty party and should also be charged with perverting the course of justice.
Meanwhile SAFTU will continue to fight not only against individual acts of corruption and fraud but against their root cause – an inherently corrupt capitalist system which is based on the greedy pursuit of private profit, regardless of the interest of the workers, communities and the people as a whole.