Publication: The Star Issued: Date: 2008-01-02 Reporter: Sapa

Big Guns Are Lined Up to Sink Zuma



The Star



Reporter Sapa

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State's indictment lists 218 witness who can be called in August trial

The state has identified a list of 218 witnesses it intends calling to testify in its case against ANC president Jacob Zuma in August.

Attached to the indictment, filed in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday, the list of witnesses includes Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille, former judge Willem Heath and former ANC MP Andrew Feinstein.

De Lille was the initial whistle blower on corruption in the multibillion-rand arms deal that has seen Zuma's former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, convicted of fraud and corruption.

Zuma was at Nkandla in KwaZulu Natal to hand out gifts to children when the indictment was filed.

He faces a total of 16 charges - one of racketeering, two of corruption, one of money laundering and 12 of fraud.

The two South African subsidiaries of Thales International (formerly Thomson-CSF) - Thint Holding (Southern Africa) and Thint - each face a charge of racketeering, as well as counts of corruption.

Nelson Mandela's former attorney, Ismail Ayob, is on the witness list, as are numerous people who were on the state's list for the trial of Shaik.

Another notable name is that of Richard Young, the Cape Town businessman whose company, CCII systems, lost out on a bid to supply combat technology for the SA Navy's new corvettes to African Defence Systems - a company in which both Shaik and Thint had stakes.

The leader of the Democratic Alliance's KwaZulu Natal caucus, Roger Burrows, and former DA finance spokesperson Raenette Taljaard will also be called, as will the former chair of parliament's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa), Gavin Woods.

Durban tycoon Vivian Reddy is also on the list. During Shaik's trial, it emerged that he came to Zuma's assistance when Zuma incurred a debt of more than R1-million on his Nkandla development.

KPMG forensic auditor Johan van der Walt, whose testimony was crucial during the Shaik trial, is again on the witness list for Zuma's trial.

Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority yesterday denied that the decision to prosecute Zuma was forced upon it by his opponents.

"The NPA is sensitive to the controversy which this decision (to prosecute Zuma) evokes," said spokesperson Tlali Tlali.

"We are also aware of claims that the NPA is being misused to advance the political and other objectives of certain individuals.

"This is not so. The decision has been made by the NPA and the NPA alone."

Tlali said the decision to prosecute Zuma and Thint was taken "after careful consideration of the facts and evidence.

"This decision was further reinforced by the various rulings in the high courts, the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court, relating to the same subject matter."

He said evidence obtained before Shaik's trial, as well as evidence that emerged during and after the trial, had also led to the decision to prosecute.

The case has been set down for August 4, but Tlali said the NPA would be prepared to start at an earlier date "should the defence so wish".

Zuma's key allies - the ANC Youth League, Cosatu and the SA Communist Party - have slammed the charges, saying they were driven by a political vendetta and were part of a politically inspired campaign.

Youth League president Fikile Mbalula accused President Thabo Mbeki of being "behind the scenes" in the serving of the papers on Zuma.

Said Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven: "The timing of the indictment has the hallmarks of vengeance, deep-seated anger and frustration by the NPA and whoever else is behind this."

With acknowledgements to The Star.

This "big gun" is as much aimed at Accused 2 and Accused 3 as it is against Accused 1.