“Zuma Free”

… with every R100 spent.

Not really, obviously. That would just be silly.

But an air of despondency and self-pity has settled over many of the more dramatic South Africans on the internet this morning. That’s because of this headline in today’s Sunday Times.

JZ: Free

Unsurprisingly, I have a few remarks to make on this.
Firstly, that this has been coming for an awful long time. These people should really have got used to it by now. So quite where the shock and the outrage has come from, I’m not sure. Presumably, they’ve been living in a tent in the Karoo for the past 6 months. “Welcome back”, I guess.
Secondly, this is a report in the Sunday Times. Now, I know that it’s a bit of a pain, but I prefer to wait until the following week before passing comment on Sunday Times‘  stories. That’s just to give the editor time to print a retraction and an apology, together with the worthless assurance that it won’t happen again. Why weren’t they up in arms last week when iol.co.za reported: “Zuma Charges to be Dropped“?
Thirdly, the official NPA announcement (for what it’s worth) is due tomorrow at 10:30. If you want real pity, then Monday morning is always a good time to get it. Everyone’s in a bit of a sombre mood anyway and ready to join in a nice session of mutual commiseration.

It’s Monday and our President-in-waiting isn’t being charged with corruption. And it’s raining. And petrol went up last week. And the dog’s ill. And we lost the cricket. And Spar only had green bananas. And…

Finally, despite all these people wanting Zuma “to have his day in court”, they have already reached their verdict long ago. I mean, obviously, he’s guilty, isn’t he? Isn’t he? Why else would he be fighting at every possible stage to stop the case going to court? Proof of guilt, isn’t it?
Well, put yourself in JZ’s position for a moment. Let’s just suppose that you or I were charged with fraud or corruption or money-laundering or racketeering for a moment. Or even all four. And let’s say, just for the sake of this example, that you were innocent of those crimes. I don’t know about you, but I would be doing everything possible to get those charges against me dropped as soon as possible. I’d be taking every legal step I could. Wouldn’t you? Of course you would, particularly if you felt the system was primed to work against you.

With the NPA announcement tomorrow that they’re going to drop the charges (as we’re expecting), this matter could be finished. Nothing more to be said or done. Of course, unsatisfactory for some, yes. But you’re never going to please all of the people, all of the time. The justice system has not been raped, although many would like you to believe it has. But then, many of those people still believe that JZ is guilty of rape, despite his acquittal three years ago. So what is their word worth, anyway?

There was never going to be an easy way out of this mess. But if South Africa is ever going to move forward, there had to be some route taken. Much like petulant football players chasing the referee after a dodgy offside decision, moaning about it is futile. There will be no change of mind, no disallowed goal; you are merely prolonging the story for no real reason, save the detriment of the country – which helps no-one.  

Time to move on, SA.

10 thoughts on ““Zuma Free”

  1. Perhaps some of us were hopeful that he would go to trial. I don’t believe he is guilty of rape, because he was aquitted in a court of law. Not so much the case here. 1 count of fraud or corruption is one thing, but over 700? Say for instance 700 people accused someone of assault or burglary, does that not seem just a *little* convincing? Guess we’ll have to see how this plays out in the long run. I sincerly hope that you are right and that i am wrong.

  2. Acidicice > I don’t have a crystal ball, I’m afriad. I don’t know what’s going to happen.
    I see this as the lesser of two evils, though.

    What is the point of him going to court, anyway – if he was found innocent, people would suggest that was a political decision and a cover-up, rather than this.

  3. Have you read Paul Holden’s lovely summary of the arms deal, 6K? I’m all for moving on when there’s smoke but no fire, and said smoke is causing people to not be able to see clearly. In this case, moving on is letting a fire sweep through – or threaten to – some quite important principles of constitutional democracies. Holden and others have provided some quite compelling reasons to have JZ in court, and while the NPA have made vague noises about referring some of the charges to the police, that seems to be a clear exploitation of the probable amnesia SA will experience with regard to this case – SAPS can issue a press release in 6 months time saying they found nothing, and that will be the end of it.

    If Mbeki and others need to be hauled before courts too, so be it. JZ can’t be absolved on the principle that others are possibly guilty too, and we can’t set the precedent of not having court cases because they are politically sensitive. Would doing so not be akin to censoring publications simply because they are likely to offend?

    Jacques´s last blog post was: Dennett in South Africa (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  4. Jacques > I do agree that this is a most unsatisfactory ending. However, I cannot see a satisfactory conclusion to this whole sordid affair, no matter which route is taken.
    Of course, under the rule of law, there is more to securing a prosecution that merely showing that “it was ‘im wot dun it”. In this case, where it seems clear that there was “political interference” – whatever that may mean – I think it would be difficult to convince anyone that JZ was guilty beyond reasonable doubt. And all the time, the country’s reputation continues to be dragged through the mud. (And yes, I recognise the implications for SA if JZ never faces a court over these charges is ‘unpretty’ too).

    I certainly don’t think that criminality should be ignored merely because it is politically sensitive. However, I think that the “political sensitivity” is just one aspect in this particular case. There are more compelling reasons – namely (IMHO) the lack of being able to secure a conviction – why these charges have been dropped.

    Incidentally, for what it’s worth, I think the lack of communication from the NPA has been shameful and has only added fuel to the fire.

  5. Hmm. The debate as to whether this was lawful or unlawful, good or bad for country and morals, really ended a long time ago. We all knew the outcome. The crappy thing is that no-one knows how it is all going to pan out in the next 10 years.

    Which is why people are still vocal and upset. They surely had no hope of any outcome other than what the Sunday Times preliminarily “reports”?

    Po´s last blog post was: It dreamt it was a sea cow. (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  6. Umshini wami mshini wami
    khawuleth’umshini wami
    Umshini wami mshini wami,
    khawuleth’umshini wami
    Umshini wami mshini wami,
    khawuleth’umshini wami
    khawuleth’umshini wami
    umshini wami, khawuleth’umshini wami

  7. I’m like so totally bored of this now. Especially when it takes up your time and I don’t get to laugh 🙁

    Goblin´s last blog post was: Armageddon is upon us (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  8. Po > As I said, no crystal ball. But who knows what will happen anywhere in anything in 10 yrs time?

    Rashid > It’s always a Monday morning nightmare.

    DW > Well, you’re safe then.

    Goblin > Sorry. More hilarity ‘soon’. Maybe.

    Leave a Reply