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Critics Call For SAF Deputy President To Resign, But Supporters Decry Guilt By Association

In South Africa, some have called for the resignation of Deputy President Jacob Zuma, following last week’s conviction of long-time associate Schabir Shaik on fraud and corruption charges. Mr. Shaik’s conviction by Judge Hillary Squires relates to a major government arms deal.

The National Prosecuting Authority, the NPA, has not yet decided whether to investigate Mr. Zuma on whether he allegedly misused his influence. However, the deputy president’s spokesperson says Mr. Zuma is having a “normal working day” and that “life goes on.”

His supporters are also reminding critics that he is innocent until proven guilty. Among those supporting Mr. Zuma is the ANC Youth League. Zizi Kodwa is a spokesman for the group. From Johannesburg, he told English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua that allegations against Mr. Zuma have been raised before.

He says, “When the former head of the National prosecuting Authority in South Africa, Mr. Bulelani Ngcuka, said a year ago that there’s prima facie evidence of corruption against the deputy president, but he would not prosecute him because that case is not winnable. We said that is wrong. You can’t create such a cloud over the head of a person like the deputy president of the country and the ANC. Now, the last day in court (for Shaik), Judge Squires made the same consistent comment. He further finds the deputy president, in absentia, and found him guilty…which is a miscarriage of judgment, but also a miscarriage of our justice.”

Asked whether the NPA should investigate, Mr. Kodwa says, “Well, we subscribe to that view. In fact, that has been our view.” The ANCYL says in a statement that Mr. Zuma “is innocent until proven guilty and this can only be established through a fair judiciary process in the courts of law.”