Accessibility links

South Africa Court to Decide on Zuma’s Seized Documents In Corruption Trial

A South African constitutional Court will decide Thursday whether documents seized from the president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), Jacob Zuma, and his attorney could be used by the prosecution during his corruption trial. Zuma claimed his constitutional right was infringed upon after South Africa's police raided his house and his attorney's office seizing thousands of documents. The Supreme Court ruled last year that the documents seized could be used as evidence against Zuma in his corruption trial.

Supporters of Zuma have thrown their weight behind him, insisting that the corruption charges against the ANC leader are politically motivated to thwart his presidential ambition. Zuma is expected to win South Africa's general elections this year to succeed President Thabo Mbeki due to the overwhelming support the ANC enjoys. Professor Shardrack Gutto is a constitutional law expert. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Pretoria that he is not surprised Zuma is enjoying enormous support from the rank and file of the ANC in his corruption trial.

"I think it is not something which is surprising. This has been on the cards since last year and even before that. But particularly at the Polokwane conference in December, where they said they were going to support him all through. Otherwise, they wouldn't have elected him at that point because he was already facing very serious charges of corruption, racketeering and money laundering," Gutto pointed out.

He said Zuma supporters have been resolute in their unflinching loyalty to the ANC leader.

"And the fact that despite all of that, he was able to be elected means that he is quite popular, and therefore their support for him is nothing that comes as a surprise. It is something that they have at least the electorate within the African National Congress really believes that they are doing the right thing to nominate him and to support him all through. And they have been trying to do it using various methods, both political and legal," he said.

Gutto said it appears the ANC leader may be enjoying some preferential treatment in his corruption trial case.

"There is an element of that of course he is posting the taxpayer a lot of money because his legal fees are mostly paid by the state, but not all of it because he is making all sorts of applications left, centre and right. And to that extent, we have also seen fundraising for Zuma last week. So, he is also getting a lot of support from a lot of business people. So I believe it is important at one point to get to the crux of the matter, have the trials to go on, or have the trial terminated. But through a legitimate legal process, not through intimidation or demonstrations as the ANC is trying to do," Gutto said.

He said the prosecutor in Zuma's corruption trial would have a Herculean task during the trial.

"I believe if I was a prosecutor, I will do my best. There are facts and there is the law, and I will try to present the facts within the law before a court of law. And it is up to the judges to weigh whether or not there has been proof beyond all reasonable doubt that any of the crimes or all of them that he is alleged to have committed were committed or not. Or they were not you acquit him. If they were, you have to convict him. And that to me is the independence of the judiciary and the integrity of the legal system," he said.