News Alert: Calls for S.Africa's Vice President to step down
- From: WWW.AfricanCrisis.Org
[It is my view that Zuma is probably no more corrupt than anyone else in
the ANC. I'm quite sure the kind of dealings he engaged in is the norm
for the whole lot of them. My view is that Mbeki and the ANC have a
secret agenda. In 2009, Mbeki has to step down, and I don't think they
want a Zulu ruling this country. I think the Xhosa cabal want to get rid
of Zuma. I think he was appointed in the beginning to win the support of
the Zulus. But I don't think they ever intended for him to really rule
the country, and that is why only his dirty laundry has been exposed in
all this. Shabir Shaik is the pawn with which they are taking him down.
Even if Zuma does not resign now, I think this was intended to destroy
his career so that Mbeki can choose another successor. Remember this
name: Cyril Ramaphosa. Although he is not in politics at the moment,
don't be surprised if he becomes South Africa's President one day. Jan]
Schabir Shaik left the Durban High Court shortly after 1pm on Thursday
after his bail of R100 000 was paid following his conviction on two
counts of corruption and one of fraud relating to alleged irregular
financial dealings with Deputy President Jacob Zuma.
Asking for comment while pausing briefly on the steps, he said: "No,
maybe after lunch we'll see what happens after that."
As he walked to his car, he was swamped by media and members of the
Earlier, senior investigator Johan du Plooy explained that Shaik
initially paid R1 000 bail when he was charged. This was set on the
presumption of innocence.
As soon as he was found guilty, the amount was raised to R100 000.
Du Plooy said he is relieved the case is finally over because of the hard
work that went into it. It was a team effort and justice has prevailed.
According to prosecutor Billy Downer, the state is to call another
witness to the stand on Friday morning.
Witness Hennie van Vuuren, from the Institute for Security Studies, will
appear as the state starts its arguments for sentencing.
The defence might also call witnesses, but all these details will be
thrashed out when the High Court resumes at 2.15pm on Thursday.
As Judge Hillary Squires pronounced Shaik guilty on charge one of
corruption, Shaik started sipping water from a glass. As he moved to
count two, he put the glass down. By count three, an ashen-faced Shaik
stared ahead at the judge.
Immediately after the proceedings, his wife, Zuleikha, ran out of the
courtroom but soon rejoined him.
It's the 'correct decision'
Makhosini Nkosi, spokesperson for National Director of Public
Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli, welcomed the decision. He said the judgement
"vindicates our decision to charge Mr Shaik on all the charges on which
he has been convicted".
Prosecutor Billy Downer also welcomed the judgement. He said the
prosecuting team "thought we had a good case" and that his team is
humbled and appreciative of the judgement.
Nkosi, speaking outside the High Court, said Pikoli will study the
judgement -- together with his advisers -- and make a pronouncement on
further action. He said Pikoli is "pleased with the judgement" and
believes it is "the correct decision", noting that the prosecuting
authority believed that on the basis of evidence it had a serious case.
Pressed by a journalist for a second time whether 63-year-old Zuma -- who
is in Zambia on an official visit to meet his counterpart -- would be
prosecuted, Nkosi said he was "not going to answer that". Zuma has
repeatedly refused to comment in recent days.
It remains unclear whether Zuma's political career will be derailed by
the judgement -- but a yet-to-be taken decision by the state to prosecute
him could be key to answering that question.
He has been publicly backed by the African National Congress Youth League
as the preferred candidate for party president when President Thabo Mbeki
retires from that position in 2007.
The government has issued a statement indicating that it "respects" the
findings of the court.
Zuma's spokesperson Lakela Kaunda said: "Deputy President Jacob Zuma has
noted the judgement in the Schabir Shaik trial in Durban. He will study
the contents before making any detailed comments."
Opposition Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon, speaking to SAFM shortly
after the judgement, said the judgement is "extraordinary" and has
He said: "I like Jacob Zuma as a person ... but this judgement will dig
the grave of Deputy President Zuma. It is impossible for him to continue
in office, and he should step down."
UDM calls for Zuma's dismissal
The United Democratic Movement, accepting Judge Squires's judgement, has
called for Zuma's dismissal.
"South Africa's body politic has been tested to its very core. The former
head of the Scorpions had said earlier that he was doubtful of a winnable
case against Zuma despite having a prima facie case," UDM leader Bantu
Holomisa said in a statement on Thursday.
"During his judgement, Justice Squires has found that there is clear
evidence of a corruptor [Mr Shaik] and a corruptee [Mr Zuma].
"I think the time is ripe for the state to charge Mr Zuma now after the
evidence has been tested and accepted before a court of law," Holomisa
Mbeki will then need to decide whether a senior member of the executive
can continue to serve while such serious charges are being considered
before a court of law.
"What is required now is decisive leadership. The president must now
prove the commitment he made last week in Parliament, where he said that
government would no longer tolerate members of the executive who abused
their positions for personal gain."
Holomisa added that the verdict throws into question the arms deal.
"Evidence has been accepted that not only did Mr Shaik's brother inform
him beforehand of the tendering processes, he even warned him of a
potential threat to one of the arms deals in which Schabir Shaik was a
"In turn, he phoned Mr Zuma to complain about this potential threat. It
is significant that in the end, Shaik's company did receive a stake in
the arms deal.
"The implication is that it was as a result of Mr Shaik's political
connections, and to the detriment of a better tender bid. Under such
circumstances, we would expect a judicial commission of inquiry into the
arms deal," Holomisa said.
Source: Daily Mail & Guardian