New Calls to Charge Zuma
'NPA should proceed or conspiracy claims will gain weight'
The emphatic rejection of Schabir Shaik's fraud and corruption appeal has given the State renewed vigour in its bid to charge Jacob Zuma with cor- ruption.
"This is one of the things we were waiting for," State advocate Billy Downer said in an interview shortly after the Su-preme Court of Appeal dismissed Shaik's appeal in Bloemfontein yesterday. Shaik now has to report to prison to start a 15-year sentence.
Downer - who led the prosecution against Shaik and the State's case against Zuma which was struck off the roll - said he was gratified by the court's unanimous decision that Shaik's appeal was "without merit". He said it "just confirms what we said all along".
Echoing comments made by National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Makhosini Nkosi yesterday, Downer said the final decision on how and when to prosecute Zuma had to be taken by the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Vusi Pikoli.
Nkosi said Pikoli's decision would depend on the finalisation of legal disputes related to search-and-seizure operations conducted on Zuma's and his lawyers' offices.
The NPA remained tight-lipped today about whether it would charge Zuma.
"In our view, the sustained corrupt relationship over the years (between Zuma and Shaik) had the effect that Shaik could use one of the most powerful politicians in the country when it suited him.
"In our view this is an aggravating factor," wrote Appeal Court Judge President Craig Howie in his judgment on Shaik's appeal.
Meanwhile, Zuma returned to Johannesburg this morning after visiting Russia for undisclosed purposes.
His attorney, Michael Hulley, said today: "Of course Mr Zuma has an interest in the judgment But the case against him was struck off the roll and there are currently no charges against him."
In the appeal ruling, the judges accepted that the State had proved the existence of a "corrupt relationship" between Shaik and Zuma, and rejected Shaik's claims that R1.2 million in payments to and on behalf of Zuma consisted of gifts, loans and donations to the ANC.
Political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi at the Centre for Policy Studies said he believed the NPA would charge Zuma again, because otherwise the so-called political conspiracy propagated by Zuma and his supporters would gain currency.
The professor of criminal law at the University of Stellenbosch, Gerhard Kemp, said he doubted whether Shaik's law-yers would find any constitutional issues to argue their application
With acknowledgements to Karyn Maughan, Gill Gifford, Linda Daniels and Cape Argus.