With Schabir Shaik's corruption trial imminent, the media (except the SA Broadcasting Corporation) are awash with allegations, says The Citizen, Johannesburg.
Most link Deputy President Jacob Zuma in unflattering ways with Shaik's alleged offences. Zuma has not been charged, although the National Director of Public Prosecutions said there was a prima facie case against him.
There have been suggestions that Zuma is being protected because of his high office, says The Citizen. It is of the utmost importance that this impression be avoided in the coming weeks.
"South Africa's image is on trial, along with its fitness to help lead the regeneration of the continent. Zuma may well be innocent but our justice system must be seen to treat all equally, regardless of position."
Deputy President Zuma and the country's tolerance for wrongdoing will be under scrutiny in the High Court, writes Mondli Makhanya, editor of the Sunday Times, Johannesburg.
He says every nation has its defining moments the times in its life when history takes a certain direction and the character of the society takes shape. Those moments tell a people just what kind of society they are, or want to be. SA is just about to experience one of its defining moments when Durban businessman Schabir Shaik walks into a courtroom (the trial starts today) to face fraud and corruption charges.
Absent from the courtroom will be Shaik's virtual co-accused: Deputy President Zuma. He will, however, be ubiquitous even in his absence.
Zuma is there on almost every page of the charge sheet, which details the servant-master relationship he allegedly had with Shaik.
The charge sheet states bluntly that there was "a general corrupt relationship between Zuma and Accused 1 (Schaik) and corporate accused, whereby Accused 1 and/or the other corporate accused paid Zuma to further their private business interests at the cost of funding Zuma's excessive expenditure".
In plain English, writesMakhanya, the National Prosecuting Authority wants to prove that SA's deputy president is a corrupt man.
That, in essence, is going to be the plot of the drama that will unfold in the Durban High Court over the next few months.
With acknowledgements to Business Day.