The attorney for South Africa’s former deputy President Jacob Zuma says the trial against his client is unlikely to start earlier than the scheduled August date. This comes after the National Prosecuting Authority Thursday reiterated its readiness to continue with the corruption case against Zuma who is now the president of the ruling African National Congress party (ANC). Supporters of Zuma have maintained that the corruption charges against him are politically motivated and calculated to thwart his presidential aspirations.
Meanwhile, an official from the powerful Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has reportedly warned that blood might “be spilt" if Zuma’s corruption trial were to proceed.
Monare Moshoeshoe is the deputy political editor of the Independent Newspapers in South Africa. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from Johannesburg that he is not surprised by the reaction from Zuma supporters.
“It’s not the first time that COSATU has made that kind of threat. Remember, when Zuma was raided, shortly after he was charged for the first time in 2005, COSATU issued a statement that demanded from Mbeki (South Africa’s President) that the Zuma charges are withdrawn, and then he is re-instated as the country’s deputy president. It was also threatening protests and chaos, but nothing has happened,” Moshoeshoe noted.
He reiterated that the COSATU reaction is no news, especially since the inception of the country’s young democracy.
“You must remember that South Africa, especially in its democratic system since 1994 doesn’t have a history of skills of chaos and political instability, especially, when things go asunder. So I really don’t think COSATU members or the populace for that matter reacting in a very different manner. Sure, there would be anger and there would be a show of frustration, but normally it would be vented within the internal process of the ANC. I don’t really see South Africa’s streets becoming anarchic and those kinds of things. So I wouldn’t kind of spend sleepless nights as a result of COSATU statement,” he said.
Moshoeshoe reckoned the corruption trail against Jacob Zuma would be on scheduled contrary to speculations of an earlier trial.
“Looking at the historical events, he (Zuma’s attorney) could be right in the sense that the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) from the start has never been ready to go ahead with the indictment. It has always depended on circumstantial evidence against Zuma. At the technical legal level, the prosecution authority has always been frustrated by the Zuma case, whereas politically it has done more damage to Zuma. So in that respect he is right because if you look at the recent charges, they are kind of over stretched as compared to the initial charge against him. So, I could also agree with him to say it might not necessarily go on trial on August 4th,” Moshoeshoe pointed out.