The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) called on President Jacob Zuma to step down on Friday following a ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), which dismissed, with costs, his attempt to overturn a previous ruling that he could face 783 fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering charges.
Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) asked for leave to appeal a judgment of the Gauteng North High Court last year, which ruled in favour of the Democratic Alliance (DA), setting aside the 2009 decision by NPA former National Director of Public Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe to discontinue the corruption case against Zuma, on the basis of irrationality.
Saftu said if Zuma refused to step down it would call on South Africans to once again unite through their organisations and occupy the streets to demand that he step down.
Saftu further demanded that the NPA and National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams immediately stop looking for further excuses and to reinstate all the charges without any further delay.
SCA Justice Eric Leach noted that it was difficult to understand why the present regime at the NPA believed the decision could be defended.
The only legal escape route for the President could be an appeal to the Constitutional Court, but even Zuma’s own lawyer, Kemp J Kemp, conceded in court that Mpshe’s decision was taken under the wrong section of the Constitution and that, in line with an earlier judgment of the Constitutional Court, this invalidated the decision.
“South Africans are sick and angry at the continuing flood of allegations of corruption, fraud and the looting of the country’s resources by members of government, heads of State-owned enterprises and private businesses. They are even more sickened by the NPA’s refusal, so far, to take any of the cases to court, despite the overwhelming evidence from whistle-blowers and leaked emails,” stated Saftu.
Prosecuting the President would be a sign that the tide was turning, said the federation, and it added that from now on there would be zero tolerance of corruption.
“The key player is Advocate Abrahams. If he once again tries to dodge his constitutional duty and fails to prosecute Zuma and all the others implicated, he himself becomes a guilty party and should also be charged with perverting the course of justice,” said Saftu.
The federation said it would continue to fight, not only against individual acts of corruption and fraud, but against their root cause - an inherently corrupt capitalist system which is based on the greedy pursuit of private profit, regardless of the interest of the workers, communities and the people as a whole.