The youth wing of South Africa's ruling
African National Congress (ANC) has described as a joke opposition accusation
that it would be illegal if graft charges against the party leader are dropped
ahead of next month's general election. The opposition Congress of the People
(COPE) said Thursday
that if prosecutors dropped graft charges against the ruling ANC leader Jacob
Zuma it would significantly undermine the country's rule of law. This comes
after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it was considering dropping
graft charges against Zuma after he lodged a legal request. Some political
analysts contend that dropping the graft charges could boost the ANC's chances
of winning the April 22 general election.
Floyd Shivambu is the spokesman of
the ANC youth league. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that Zuma has no question
to answer concerning the graft charges against him.
is totally ridiculous of anyone particularly of the opposition party to say
that the ANC will be breaking any laws because it is within the legal
provisions and the legal fraternity that the ANC president can make provisions can
make representations to the NPA in terms of the charges that are intended to be
against him. It is within the law; so if the National Prosecuting Authority
takes an independent decision to withdraw the charges, it would be within the
confines of the law," Shivambu
He described as hypocritical
the claims of the opposition party.
"Why is it that the
opposition wants to say that it is against the law when the charges are
withdrawn but they didn't say it was against the law when the charges were laid
upon him (Zuma)? It is the right of an independent Prosecuting Authority to
decide whether to put charges on someone or not. The prosecuting authority has
got every right to withdraw the charges. In any way the president of the ANC
does not have any case to answer because this has been a political game plan to
prevent him from becoming the president of the republic," he said.
Shivambu denied the ANC will
receive a significant boost if graft charges against its leader are dropped.
"There is no undue influence
which is going to be given on voters. Already the ANC is going to win over 70
percent of the votes and whether the charges are dropped the majority of South
Africans are going to be voting for the African National Congress. So, there is
no real situation which is going to worry us in terms of these accusations. It
is going to be good that when the charges are dropped it is going to be an
action that should have been done a long time ago, but it really doesn't have
an influence at all in terms of voter perceptions and the voter decision,"
He reiterated that the
charges against the ANC leader are politically motivated.
"Majority of the people know
that the president of the ANC does not have a case to answer and he must be the
president of the republic, and they are going to confirm that on the 22 of
April," he said.
Shivambu described as bogus
opposition claims of a threat to derail the ANC's two-thirds majority in
parliament in the upcoming April 22 general election.
"Look, there is not a single
serious opposition to the African National Congress in South Africa. That COPE
situation is just a joke. COPE is not a party that is concentrating on anything
and it is not even going to get even two percent of the vote in South Africa. It
is just that they keep on making media statements, but they don't have the
presence on the ground and they don't have presence of the communities in South
Africa," Shivambu noted.
He sharply denied
accusations that the ANC will amend the constitution in to grant immunity from
criminal prosecution against a sitting president.
"The ANC is not going to
change the constitution to try to protect an individual. The ANC has already
got 70 percent in parliament now and it could have done that a long time ago, but
it is not going to do that. It is not our intention and we are not going to do
that," he said.
Shivambu said the ANC is
confident, but not complacent in the upcoming general election.
"It is not complacency, it
is just being confident about our victory. It is about being confident about
the necessities of almost all South Africans and knowing their credibility and
their confidence in the African National Congress," Shivambu noted.
Supporters of Zuma
claimed the graft corruption charges against him are politically motivated
aimed at preventing the ANC leader from becoming the country's next president.
But the opposition COPE contends that if the dismissal of the charges against
Zuma was transparent it would give all South Africans confidence that the rule
of law was not interfered with.
The ruling ANC faces
its greatest electoral challenge since apartheid ended in 1994, although party
leader Zuma is still expected to emerge as president when the new parliament
meets to elect the head of state.
Some political analysts say
the graft charges against ANC leader Zuma have increased political uncertainty
in South Africa where economic growth had sharply slowed even before the impact
of the global financial crisis.
The opposition Congress of
the People (COPE) was formed after former South African President Thabo Mbeki
loyalists broke away from the ruling party after he was forced to step down.
Mbeki was accused of politically having a hand in the corruption charges
against his former Vice President Jacob Zuma.