Zuma survives but battle far from over
Publish date: 10 August 2017
Issue Number: 128
Diary: Legalbrief Forensic
President Jacob Zuma has managed to survive a motion of no confidence despite numerous calls, including from Transparency International (TI) and its partner in SA, Corruption Watch, for members of Parliament to vote for the motion, writes Legalbrief. ‘Public governance has been undermined. Civil society and ordinary citizens are in the streets asking for change. This is a chance for South Africa to show that integrity can be at the centre of its politics, not corruption. Politicians must listen to the people. Enough is enough. The evidence of grand corruption and state capture is mounting. This hurts everyone in South Africa,’ said David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch. ‘Grand corruption on this scale robs citizens of their rights. Money that should help them goes to line the pockets of the politically connected. This must stop. People are in the streets and politicians must listen to their voices. President Zuma must go,’ said José Ugaz, chair of TI. TI is calling for a full, transparent investigation into the role of multinational companies named in the leaked e-mails. These include consulting giant McKinsey & Co, which has suspended the head of its SA operations pending an internal investigation. Corruption Watch is preparing documentation to pass to the US Department of Justice which could open investigations under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as the companies involved in the allegations all do business in the US.
This was the most serious attempt yet to unseat the President after months of growing anger over allegations of corruption and a sinking economy, reports The Guardian. It was the eighth such vote of his increasingly beleaguered presidency, but the first involving a secret ballot, with a broad coalition of opposition parties and renegade MPs from the ruling ANC falling just short of the simple majority needed to force Zuma and his Cabinet to resign immediately. The report says in the hours before the vote, a series of coordinated protests across SA demanded Zuma’s removal. A petition signed by more than 1m people was delivered to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. The report says while the ANC, Africa’s oldest liberation movement, and the President live to fight another day, there is little doubt that both are wounded by the proceedings.
The DA said that the result of the motion of no confidence in Zuma reveals that ‘the ANC is totally divided against itself’, according to an IoL report. ‘Tonight's result, despite the slender victory, signals the death of the ANC.’ The official opposition party also warned that this motion is ‘not the end of the road for the president, as he still has 783 charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering to answer for and we will see him in the Supreme Court of Appeal’.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has called on society to fight harder to hold the government accountable. ‘The vote to keep Zuma in power is a vote for corruption‚’ said Wayne Duvenage‚ Outa chair. ‘The Constitutional Court rulings and evidence from several reports on state capture show that Jacob Zuma is not fit for public office.’ The Times reports that in recent weeks Outa has filed charges against a number of Ministers and officials in connection with state capture activity and said it would continue to do so. ‘Our country is burning but our MPs ignore this‚’ Outa chief operating officer Ben Theron said. ‘South Africa is at its lowest point and civil society will have to work harder to hold government accountable ... By ignoring the evidence of state capture and corruption‚ the MPs associate themselves with it.’ Duvenage said: ‘The president is now living on borrowed time and is spending far too much time having to deal with his own crisis of legitimacy. Very little of Zuma's time is directed at dealing with this country’s problems and challenges.’
A group of United Democratic Front (UDF) veterans had earlier demanded that NPA head Shaun Abrahams drop the appeal against the reinstatement of 783 fraud and corruption charges against Zuma, and resume the case against him immediately. It must also start prosecuting the local and international board chiefs, government officials and civilians allegedly implicated in bribery and corruption in SA. News24 reports that the fraud and corruption charges that Zuma had faced were withdrawn close to the time he was sworn in as President in 2009. At the time, then-National Director of Public Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe said he was forced to withdraw the charges because there had been evidence of possible political meddling in the investigation. The full Bench of the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) ruled in April 2016 that the decision to discontinue the prosecution against the President should be reviewed and set aside because Mpshe's decision had been irrational.