The ANC on Friday said it noted the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decision to reinstate charges against former president Jacob Zuma but highlighted that he was innocent until proven guilty.
“Accordingly we call on South Africans at large to afford the NPA space to conduct its work unhindered‚ we continue to assert the inalienable right of all in our country‚ including Comrade Jacob Zuma‚ to be presumed innocent until and if proven guilty‚” said ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe.
The party said it had confidence in the country’s criminal justice system and respects the independence of the judiciary.
National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, on Friday afternoon announced that a court of law was the most suited to deal with the charges against Zuma.
“I am of the view that there are reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution of Zuma in the charges listed in the indictment‚” Abrahams said.
Zuma faces 16 charges‚ involving 783 incidents‚ of racketeering‚ corruption‚ money laundering and fraud. The charges relate to a R30-billion government arms deal in the late 1990s. They were filed but then dropped by the NPA shortly before Zuma ran for president in 2009.
Zuma — then Deputy President — was linked to the deal through Schabir Shaik‚ his former financial adviser who was jailed for corruption.
Shaik’s conviction almost torpedoed Zuma’s bid for president but the charges against him were dropped on a technicality in 2009.
The High Court reinstated the charges in 2016 and the Supreme Court upheld that decision last year‚ rejecting an appeal by Zuma and describing the NPA’s initial decision to set aside the charges as “irrational”.