ANC Presidential Candidates Linked To Zuma May Be “Legally Compromised”

Anyone running in the presidential race of the ANC’s December conference will be seen as compromised if they are linked to the “legally compromised” President Jacob Zuma, a political expert said on Friday.

“Anyone aligned to Zuma in any way will be seen as compromised. Any candidate linked to him personally or politically will have a cloud over them, because they will be linked to someone who is legally compromised,” said University of KwaZulu-Natal political expert Dr Lubna Nadvi.

“If he [Zuma] is charged, he will be compromised as a leader of South Africa, which has implications for the integrity of our government regarding the status of what SA means to the African continent and globally with a compromised head of state.”

She said the NPA would make the decision on whether to charge Zuma.

She added that if he is charged, only time will tell how this will play out.

“It is not good for SA to have a president that will face judgment, because we need to take measures to ensure that, as a country, we have good governance.”

This comes after the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld an earlier decision by the High Court that Zuma be prosecuted with 18 charges and 783 counts of fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

Political scientist Keith Gottschalk told HuffPost SA that, judging by the past 15 years, it will be interesting to see how Zuma manages to create more legal delays and appeals. “This will give a morale boost to the [Cyril] Ramaphosa camp in their campaign to become Zuma’s successor.

“This reinforces the points they make about corruption. I’d be very cautious to see if [NPA head] Shaun Abrahams will actually charge him, and so the next thing to watch out for is, what is the seniority and capability of the prosecutors who will be assigned to the case? I am cautious to see any consequences for South Africa until we see what the prosecuting authority actually does.”

This is a severe indictment and a negative perception on political services over the past decade, which have managed to help the president avoid these charges.

It is not necessarily a clear-cut process of charges ahead, says Wits School of Governance Professor Susan Booysen. She told HuffPost SA that we can expect the president and his associates to try and pull every trick to ensure this process is prolonged, and to try and make it go away.

“At one level, this is a severe indictment and a negative perception on political services over the past decade, which have managed to help the president avoid these charges. This saga is not over because now it will be up to people like Shaun Abrahams.

“Another thing that runs against [Zuma] is that he will soon, in under two years, be out of power.” Booysen says this means it will probably end up with Zuma’s successors and the cost more than likely “pulled out of the coffers of the state”.

She says: “Zuma is not going to be handing himself over to the court. And that this judgment doesn’t have further implications because they [Zuma and his associates] may have two or more other little tricks up their sleeves”.

It remains to be seen whether or not Zuma will be charged, but what does this mean for the leadership race ahead of December? Zuma’s fate now lies in the hands of the NPA and its boss, Shaun Abrahams.