News Alert: South Africa faces major political crisis over corruption trial
- From: WWW.AfricanCrisis.Org
[This is a big one to watch. I believe that because Zuma is a Zulu and
also not part of the original Marxist cabal, the ANC will never allow him
to become the President of South Africa. I believe that Mbeki and the ANC
are out to destroy any chances for Zuma to become the President - and
that's what this is about. Its going to be fascinating to watch. Jan]
SOUTH Africa was teetering last night on the brink of its biggest
political crisis since the end of apartheid, when a judge said there was
"overwhelming" evidence of a corrupt relationship between a businessman
and the man tipped to become the next president.
The judge, Hillary Squires, unexpectedly adjourned his judgment without
reaching a verdict in the trial of the businessman, Schabir Shaik, who is
accused of a corrupt relationship with the vice-president, Jacob Zuma.
However, by the time he called a halt to proceedings - because his voice
was giving way reading the 165-page judgment - Mr Squires had thrown
enough grenades to guarantee prolonged problems for the ruling African
Shaik complained to police officers as he left the Durban high court that
the judge was "crucifying" him by extending his judgment to a third day,
at the end of an eight-month trial that has monumental political
implications for South Africa.
Mr Squires was summing up the mountain of trial evidence about the first
of the three charges against Shaik - that he bribed Mr Zuma to the tune
of at least �110,000 in 238 separate payments to secure the
vice-president�s support for business enterprises.
The name of Mr Zuma, who is not charged in the trial, appeared as
frequently as that of Shaik in the first 122 pages of the judgment.
Mr Squires accused Shaik of calculated deception, evasion, equivocation
and inconsistency while giving evidence.
And in a devastating comment that gives a huge clue about his likely
final verdict, the judge said: "The case on count one is not just
convincing in detail, but it is really overwhelming."
That statement, combined with the unexpected delay in reaching the
verdict, unleashed an immediate national debate among a populace which
has been watching the judgment live on television - the first time in
South Africa that TV cameras have been allowed into a courtroom in
When Mr Squires resumes his judgment today in the packed courtroom behind
the Victorian facade of Durban�s high court, he will turn to the most
sensational allegation against Shaik and, by implication, Mr Zuma.
The charge is that, as part of South Africa�s recent �5.2 billion
international arms deal, Shaik procured for the vice-president a �41,000
illegal annual retainer from the French arms and electronics giant
Thomson CSF - which is part-owned by the French government and has since
been renamed Thales.
In return, said the state prosecutor, Mr Zuma agreed to secure Thomson
CSF�s interests in the cabinet and to make sure, as leader of
parliamentary business, that MPs launched no awkward inquiries into the
programme to refurbish South Africa�s armed forces, whose equipment had
become outdated as a result of apartheid-era sanctions.
Source: The Scotsman