Publication: The Star Issued: Date: 2008-08-02 Reporter: Editorial

The Law Is Quite Clear



The Star



Reporter Editorial

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In a matter of the law, Jacob Zuma's biggest problem, irrespective of which way you cut it, is that a judge called Hilary Squires, in finding his erstwhile financial adviser Schabir Shaik guilty of fraud and corruption, in essence found Zuma had a case to answer.

This was preceded by the then head of the National Prosecuting Authority, Bulelani Ngcuka, stating somewhat bizarrely at the time that while there was a prima facie case against Zuma, the NPA would not proceed.

Subsequently, the NPA has painstakingly built a case against Zuma.

In the same time, Zuma has undergone a Lazarus-like resurrection to become ANC president and effectively president-in-waiting of the country, after having been fired by Thabo Mbeki as his deputy three years ago and supposedly consigned to the political wilderness.

What we now have is a heady mixture of politics, crime and the law. And it is critically important that when Zuma appears in the dock on Monday, this distinction is made and observed.

The fact of Monday's court appearance is simple. Zuma is there to face a criminal charge under South African law.

No matter how many supporters the ANC Youth League may bus in to Pietermaritzburg tomorrow, irrespective of how many people Julius Malema wants to ostensibly kill or maim in defence of his beloved leader, and no matter how many plots, vendettas or intrigues Zwelinzima Vavi might imagine, there is only one question that the court must test.

That question is whether Zuma is guilty of a crime.

If innocent, he must allow this process to happen; if guilty he must face the consequences. It's that simple.

As our de facto future president and president of the party that launched our much lauded constitution, he should know this better and defend this harder than any other person in this country.

Our only question is whether he actually will *1.

With acknowledgements to Karyn Maughan and The Star.

*1       It is simple - he and his ilk have shown on countless occasions that saving his skin from a minimum of 15 years incarceration is the only real consideration.

Thereafter he will reward those who have saved him, including Thabo Mbeki, if the means of saving is amnesty during the latter's term of office.

Any which way this is going to be a torrid time for most South Africans and an even more torrid time for those who have taken their national duty seriously to report, investigate and prosecute bribery and corruption in terms of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Hopefully the fiscus has budgeted adequately for bullet-proof court rooms, bullet-proof vehicles, bullet-proof vests, the witness protection programme, as well as fearless *2 judges, assessors and

*2      Actually fearless is less than optimal.

What one needs is controlled fear.

Like when one sees the tell-tale large round black eye and symmetrical tail of a great white shark underwater, it helps little to panic and start wimpering for one's mother. One needs to calmly fit one's powerhead to the tip of one's speargun and extends gun, body and fins to create maximum appearance and maximum distance between hunter and hunted.

[If one has just fired one's speargun and especially if there's a yellowtail wriggling at the end of the spear, wimpering for one's mother is probably the best and only option.]

In the court room when one sees a crazed Maleman draw his .38 Special from ankle holster or shoulder holster (let's pray that court security won't let a Maleman with an AK-47 or R4 onto the premises), one must duck neatly under the bullet-proof partition and pray that the assigned security guards' first shots are on target between the left shoulder and the right shoulder before Crazed Maleman achieves same.

Alternatively one could pray that Crazed Maleman's accuracy is poor and misses completely or is so accurate that he strikes the best part of the ceramic, composite and steel body armour which one procured out of one's finite disposable income because one had a premonition that the government-issued unit might not be quite good enough.

If the government-issued security guard misses with his first round then instruct him to hand over his firearm to self and then place own round on target between left shoulder and right shoulder.

Unfortunately the use of a shotgun, while extremely effective especially when aimed at the assailant's eyes, has to be discouraged due to risk of collateral damage. Accordingly to the principle of deontology *3, it is apparently wrong to fire a multi-projectile weapon at a Crazed Maleman trying to take refuge amongst those in the public gallery, even if they are a horde of journalists who've bribed their way past limited entry.

These are just the first rules of court room gun fighting.

It is a little rudimentary at this stage because it is a somewhat new phenomenon and requires experience *4 and practice *5 before perfection.

*3      Let justice be done though the heavens fall!

*4      Hopefully not.

*5      I am only writing this nonsense in preparation for when and if I must test my own resolve to be born and testify, but not to die, in Pietermaritzburg.

Off to the practice range we must now go.