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ANC President Back in Corruption Spotlight
South Africa presidential candidate Jacob Zuma to face criminal charges during election
Nicolas van der Leek (Nick)     Print Article 
Published 2009-01-14 11:20 (KST)   
Elections are in 2009 in South Africa, and far and away the favorite to win the elections is the ruling party president, Jacob Zuma.

Zuma is well known for his populist promises to the poor, his song "Umshini Wam" ("Bring me my machine gun") and for his assertions that as president he will aggressively tackle crime and corruption.

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In an unprecedented about-turn, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) appealed a ruling made several months ago by High Court Judge Chris Nicholson, and on Monday corruption charges that had been dismissed by Nicholson were found to have been "wrongly dismissed."

This means that the ruling party candidate is to be recharged with 16 counts - 12 of fraud, two of corruption, and one of money laundering and racketeering each.

Bitter Pill

The overturning of Nicholson's ruling must be a bitter irony for the ousted President Mbeki, who, as a direct result of many of Nicholson's statements, was booted out of the presidency (currently replaced by Kgaleme Motlantha). This was four months ago. Even so, Mbeki does not have a hope of being re-instated with elections around the corner.

South Africa's judicial capital, Bloemfontein, was the setting for the historic judgement. Here, an appellate panel said that Judge Nicholson had erred about what he averred was a "disputed procedure." They went further to accuse Nicholson of overstepping the "limits" of his authority. Finally they dismissed Mbeki's alleged meddling as an irrelevant aspect of the case.

'Meddling Not the Issue'

Bloemfontein's Supreme Court Judge Louis Harms said: "Political meddling was not [the] issue... Nevertheless, a substantial part of [Nicholson's] judgment dealt with... his own conspiracy theory."

As the electioneering begins, Zuma may face 15 years in jail if convicted. However, if he is elected president, there may be a laughable scenario where the president may excuse himself of all charges.

The court case already having run for 10 years, is expected to conclude by around 2010.

For more on the writer visit www.nickvanderleek.com
©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Nicolas van der Leek

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