Publication: Sapa Issued: Pietermaritzburg Date: 2006-09-20 Reporter: Sapa Reporter:

NPA Disappointed Zuma Judgement






Date 2006-09-20



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The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it was disappointed that Jacob Zuma's corruption trial was struck off the roll at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday and would spend the next few days studying the judgment.

"The NPA is obviously disappointed with this decision but... it does not detract from the strength of the State's case or the ability of the NPA to bring the matter to trial when the various issues delaying the trial have been resolved," spokesman Makhosini Nkosi said at the court.

The national director of public prosecutions, Vusi Pikoli, would in the next few days study the judgment and, in consultation with the prosecuting team, decide what may be necessary in view of Judge Herbert Msimang's ruling and remarks, Nkosi said.

Earlier, Nkosi had said that the matter being struck from the roll meant the State could take its time in investigating further, and could bring an indictment without the strict guidelines that would have been set by a court.

Meanwhile, Zuma beamed as thousands of his supporters sang and cheered on hearing Msimang's judgment on Zuma's case and that of his co-accused, two subsidiaries of a French arms manufacturer.

In high spirits, Zuma sat in the VIP tent outside the court surrounded by KwaZulu-Natal premier S'bu Ndebele, African National Congress secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe and Don Mkhwanazi, chairman of the Friends of Jacob Zuma Trust which has been drumming up support for him.

ANC Youth League (ANCYL) leader Fikile Mbalula told the jubilant crowd: "An important battle has been won today but the war still continues.

"No one in this country is allowed to use state institutions as kangaroo courts and a private army controlled from their bedroom... There is no one who can defeat the struggle of justice.

"As we said as the youth, your rights (Zuma) were abused. Our message to those abusing state institutions is that do not take the law for granted as if you are controlling your own dogs."

He said that even if Zuma was charged again the ANCYL would continue supporting him.

He continued: "Decisions taken in beer halls cannot be taken seriously in court." Zuma was accused of accepting a R500,000 a year bribe from two Thint companies -- subsidiaries of the French arms manufacturer Thales International. The two Thint companies were co-accused in the case.

Msimang said Zuma had been socially prejudiced and had experienced pain and suffering through the publicity the case had received.

"The problem with this type of prejudice is that it closely resembles the punishment that should only be given to a convicted person."

He said the State should have investigated further before charging Zuma and had failed to take into account the legal challenges to search-and-seizure raids on premises of Zuma and his legal advisers.

To make use of those documents seized in the raids would not be a sensible move, Msimang said. (Pickup as required)

With acknowledgement to Sapa.