Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Nothing to hide?
As of yesterday, Jacob Zuma is that much closer to being prosecuted by the NPA around allegations of graft in the arms deal. A judge yesterday ruled that the state is able to access documents held by court injunction by Mauritian authorities, which include originals of the Thint documents, and CEO Alain Thetard's diary. The diary includes entries of meetings between Zuma, Shaik and Thint, which are central to the state's case.

Zuma has stated that he will appeal the decision. One imagines that he has to, given his political aspirations. However, Zuma is sitting between a rock and a hard place in terms of the timing of the state's prosecution. He has to challenge all legal rulings in attempting to postpone any prosecution decisions until after the AGM, but in that scenario, will he find support of ANC moderates if he may yet be charged? On the other hand, if he opens himself up, surrenders all information (assuming he's innocent) and lets the state prosecute him, he would undoubtedly be under that cloud during the AGM anyway, which would again dent his presidential hopes. Either way, he's in trouble.

That being said, and given that the AGM - although critically important as a bell-weather of support - may not decide the 2009 president, it would be advantageous for Zuma to challenge the state to find him guilty and present himself as an innocent man wrongfully accused, this time opening the way for prosecution instead of blocking it. But one has the sneaky suspicion (with Shabir Shaik's trial in mind) that Zuma does in fact have something to hide. And that, clearly, is the issue...