South African Court Acquits Zuma’s Son Over Car Crash

South Africa Police Launch Manhunt For Killers Of Nigerian

 

A South African court on Friday acquitted Duduzane Zuma, the son of former president Jacob Zuma, of manslaughter charges over a fatal late-night car crash in 2014.

Duduzane, 35, had pleaded not guilty at a magistrates’ court in Johannesburg to causing the death of Phumzile Dube after his Porsche hit a minibus.

One woman died in the crash, three others were injured and another passenger died in hospital weeks later.

Magistrate Tebogo Thupaatlase said the state had failed to prove the manslaughter charges beyond reasonable doubt.

“The accused is found not guilty,” he said.

“None of the evidence presented established that there was anything that a reasonable man in the position of the accused, on that night would have foreseen.”

READ ALSO: Nigerian Man Arrested, Charged For Murder Of American Student

Zuma had testified that his car had spun out of control after hitting a pool of water.

Amid tight security, former president Zuma was at the court to support his son, as well as Duduzane’s twin sister Duduzile.

“The court assessed the situation well and the court’s decision has made me happy,” Jacob Zuma told reporters after the ruling.

Zuma, 76, was forced to resign in February 2018 over corruption allegations centred around the Gupta business family, who reportedly held such sway that they picked cabinet ministers.

Duduzane was previously employed by the Guptas.

Jacob Zuma, who has five wives and at least 20 children, has been charged with 16 counts of graft linked to an arms deal from before he became president.

AFP

Jacob Zuma Must Pay Mounting Legal Fees – Court

In this file photo taken on July 27, 2018 former South African president Jacob Zuma stands in the dock of the High Court of Pietermaritzburg during his hearing over 16 corruption charges.
Phill MAGAKOE / POOL / AFP

 

Former South African president Jacob Zuma must pay back state funds and cover his own costs, a court ruled on Thursday, leaving him facing massive legal bills as he fights graft charges.

Zuma, who was ousted in February over multiple graft scandals, could be liable for a $2 million legal bill but that figure would rise sharply, according to local media.”The state is not liable for the legal costs incurred by Jacob.

Mr  Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma in his personal capacity in criminal prosecutions instituted against him,” judge Aubrey Ledwaba said in his ruling at the High Court in Pretoria.

The judge also ordered the recovery of state funds previously spent defending Zuma, ruling in a case which was brought by opposition parties.

Zuma is expected to appeal.

His ruling African National Congress (ANC) party said that Zuma had done nothing wrong as the court had only just ruled.

“Nothing was wrong until today… We will need to study this order,” acting party spokesman Dakota Legoete told the eNCA broadcaster.

But the main opposition Democratic Alliance party said in a statement that Zuma’s “system of corruption” had been shut down by the ruling.

“(The system) where those who loot the state are then able to defend themselves using public money has been stopped today,” the party said in a statement.

Zuma, who is thought to have little personal wealth, is due back in court in May for a hearing on whether the corruption charges against him should be dropped.

The former president, who served from 2009 until earlier this year, is battling to quash the charges against him over a $2.5-billion corruption case linked to a 1990s arms deal.

He has been charged with 16 counts of fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

He is accused of taking around four million rand ($340,000, 280,000 euros) in bribes from French defence company Thales.

Both Zuma and the French arms maker deny all charges.

The charges were first brought against him in 2005 but dropped by prosecutors in 2009 shortly before he became president, before being reinstated in 2016.

Beset by scandal, Zuma was forced to resign after a long stand-off with the ruling ANC party.

His successor Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to root out corruption in government and the party.

AFP

Zuma’s Son Released On Bail After Corruption Charges

 

Duduzane Zuma, the son of former South African president Jacob Zuma, was released on bail after appearing in court in leg-irons on Monday on charges of corruption, the biggest scalp so far in an attempt to get to the bottom of the graft allegations that swirled around his father.

Duduzane Zuma, who returned to South Africa last week to attend his brother’s funeral, was released on 100,000 rand ($7,439.76) bail with his case postponed to January 24, 2019.

The charges, which he plans to contest, relate to corruption allegations made by deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, lawyer Rudi Krause told Reuters without providing further detail.

Jonas said in 2016 the Guptas offered him the position of finance minister shortly before former president Zuma sacked then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, in December, a move that sent markets into a tailspin.

Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.

Zuma arrived at the Johannesburg Specialised Crimes Court on Monday after he was detained briefly at Johannesburg’s main airport on Friday in relation to a corruption case filed in 2016.

 

 

South Africa Ex-President, Jacob Zuma’s Son Charged With Corruption

Duduzane Zuma (C), son of former South African president Jacob Zuma, leaves the court, where he faced corruption charges before being released on bail on July 9, 2018 in Johannesburg. WIKUS DE WET / AFP

 

Duduzane Zuma, the son of scandal-hit former South African president Jacob Zuma, appeared in ankle shackles in a Johannesburg court on Monday on corruption charges before being released on bail.

Duduzane, 34, worked for the Gupta family, which is accused of corrupt dealings with Zuma‘s government by being granted lucrative government contracts and influencing ministerial appointments.

He has been charged over involvement in a bribe allegedly offered to former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas by the Guptas.

“He is charged with corruption for offering undue gratification to a public officer,” National Prosecution Authority spokesman Phindi Mjonondwane told reporters.

“The state did not oppose bail because he has been cooperating.”

Jonas has said in a sworn statement that the Guptas offered him the post of finance minister in return for obeying the family’s instructions — for which he would allegedly be paid 600 million rand ($50 million, 42.5 million euros).

“The charges are based on allegations made by Mcebisi Jonas,” Duduzane’s lawyer, Rudi Krause, said, adding that his client denied all wrongdoing.

Zuma was granted 100,000 rand ($7,500) bail and the case was postponed until January 24.

He is also due in court on Thursday on culpable homicide charges over a deadly car crash in 2014.

Zuma, 76, was forced to resign in February as criticism grew from within the ruling ANC party over multiple corruption scandals.

AFP

Anger In South Africa Over Legal Fees Of Ex-President Zuma

Police Raid House Of Zuma's Allies In Graft Probe
FILE PHOTO Former South African President Jacob Zuma attends the opening of the Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government during the 30th annual African Union summit in Addis Ababa on January 28, 2018.
SIMON MAINA / AFP

 

South Africa’s government was facing growing questions on Thursday over who should foot the legal bills of former president Jacob Zuma as he fights numerous allegations of corruption.

His successor President Cyril Ramaphosa appeared to endorse underwriting the mounting legal court costs of his erstwhile political master.

“The acts on the basis of which it is alleged that the former President committed criminal offences took place during his tenure as a government official both at provincial and later at the national level,” wrote Ramaphosa in a letter to the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party.

Ramaphosa added that the government had forced Zuma to agree to pay back the legal aid if he was found to have “acted in his personal capacity and ownership interest in the commission of the alleged offences”.

Zuma resigned as president last month under pressure from his ruling African National Congress party in the wake of a slew of corruption scandals.

Last week it was announced that he would face prosecution on charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering for allegedly taking bribes over a multi-billion rand arms deal signed in the 1990s.

Opposition parties have noisily opposed Ramaphosa’s agreement to bankroll Zuma’s defence, accusing the former head of state of being a “thief” and a “criminal”.

In a second letter to the opposition published on Thursday, Ramaphosa insisted that he had no choice but to indemnify Zuma’s legal costs arguing he was bound by a deal struck between Zuma and former president Thabo Mbeki inked in 2006.

The opposition DA said it would take the government to court to force it to back down.

“Zuma should not be entitled to a single cent of the people’s money and the DA will now fight to ensure this,” said DA federal chairman James Selfe.

According to Selfe, Zuma has already spent 15.3 million rands ($1.3 million) defending himself against corruption allegations linked to the arms deal affair.

AFP

Former South African President, Jacob Zuma To Be Tried For Corruption

 

Police Raid House Of Zuma's Allies In Graft Probe
Jacob Zuma  (file)  SIMON MAINA / AFP

Former South African president Jacob Zuma will face prosecution on corruption charges that haunted much of his term in office, the country’s chief prosecutor said Friday.

“After consideration of the matter there are reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution of Mr Zuma,” said National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams at a media briefing in Pretoria.

“A trial court would be the most appropriate (venue) for the ventilation of the issues.”

The former president could now appeal the ruling on a number of grounds and argue that the decision is illegitimate as Abrahams’ own position is uncertain.

In December, the High Court in Pretoria ordered then-deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to replace Abrahams, ruling that Zuma’s original decision to appoint him was “null and void” because he was “conflicted” at the time.

“Justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done — I am mindful that everyone is equal before the law,” added Abrahams, who noted that “Mr Zuma disputes all allegations against him”.

‘Charges hanging over him’

“I don’t think Zuma can stay out of court — there’s too many charges hanging over him,” independent political analyst and author Nomavenda Mathiane told AFP ahead of the announcement.

Last year, a court ruled against a decision by prosecutors in 2009 to drop the corruption charges against Zuma just months before he became president.

Zuma’s criminal charges relate to multi-billion-dollar arms procurement deals struck by the government in the late 1990s and from which he is accused of profiting corruptly to the tune of four million rands ($345,000, 280,000 euros).

At the time, state prosecutors justified dropping the case by saying that tapped phone calls between officials in then-president Thabo Mbeki’s administration showed undue interference.

Zuma and other officials were accused of taking kickbacks from the $5 billion (4.2 billion euros) purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and other arms manufactured by five European firms, including British military equipment maker BAE Systems and French company Thales.

In 2005 Zuma’s former financial adviser Schabir Shaik was convicted for facilitating bribes over the contracts and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was later released on medical parole.

Zuma resigned as president last month after the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party threatened to remove him from office.

In addition to the corruption scandals that dogged his time in office, Zuma was under fire for his handling of the economy, which has been battered by falling economic growth and record unemployment.

The opposition Democratic Alliance party has campaigned since 2009 to reactivate the charges relating to the military contracts. Zuma insists he is innocent.

His successor President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to tackle corruption, admitting it was a major problem in the government.

AFP

Zuma’s Five Biggest Career Scandals

South Africa's Zuma Gets Backing From ANC
(FILE PHOTO)

 

South African President Jacob Zuma’s resignation from office hours after the ruling ANC party reportedly asking him to step down is the latest in a long history of career controversies.

Here are five of his biggest scandals:

Rape charges and HIV 

Before taking office, Zuma was put on trial in 2006 for rape, in a case that dismayed many South Africans.

Zuma said the sex with the 31-year-old family friend was consensual and he was acquitted.

But he told the court he had showered to avoid contracting HIV after having unprotected sex with his HIV-positive accuser — a common but dangerous myth.

Zuma was head of the South African National AIDS Council at the time, and was pilloried for his ignorance.

He is still mocked in newspaper cartoons, which often depict him with a shower nozzle sprouting from his bald head.

Nearly a fifth of South Africans aged between 15 and 49 are HIV-positive.

 Nkandla costs 

Zuma was found by the country’s graft watchdog in 2014 to have “benefited unduly” from so-called security upgrades to his rural Nkandla residence in KwaZulu-Natal province. It said he should refund some of the money.

The work, paid for with taxpayers’ money, cost $24 million (22 million euros) and included a swimming pool, which was described as a fire-fighting facility, a chicken run, a cattle enclosure, an amphitheatre and a visitors’ centre.

For two years, Zuma fought the order to repay part of the money. The scandal came to dominate his presidency — with opposition lawmakers chanting “Pay back the money!” every time he appeared in parliament.

In March 2016 he was ordered by the Constitutional Court to pay back the cash and suffered a stinging rebuke from the justices who accused him of failing to respect and uphold the constitution.

 Guptagate 

As the Nkandla debacle built to a climax, its place in the headlines was overtaken by a new scandal, known as Guptagate.

It involved the president’s allegedly corrupt relationship with a wealthy family of Indian immigrants headed by three brothers — Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta — who built a business empire in mining, media, technology and engineering.

Smouldering rumours of the family’s undue influence on the president burst into flames in 2016 when evidence emerged they allegedly offered key government jobs to those who might help their business interests.

Ousted deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas revealed that the Guptas had offered him a promotion shortly before Zuma sacked respected finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in December 2015.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) laid corruption charges against the Guptas and Zuma’s son Duduzane.

 Arms deal 

In October 2017, after a marathon legal campaign by the DA party, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that Zuma was liable for prosecution over almost 800 counts of corruption relating to a 1990s arms deal.

The accusations relate to a multi-billion-dollar arms deal signed in 1999, when Zuma was deputy president. He allegedly accepted bribes from international arms manufacturers to influence the choice of weaponry.

Zuma’s advisor, Schabir Shaik, was jailed for 15 years in 2005. He was released on medical parole in 2009, the year Zuma became president.

After he leaves office, Zuma faces the risk of jail over 18 criminal charges over the 783 payments he received.

Omar al-Bashir 

In March 2016 the South African Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a judgement that the failure by Zuma’s government to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was illegal.

Despite an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes in the conflict in Darfur, Bashir was allowed to attend a meeting of the African Union in Johannesburg in 2015.

The government said the fact that he was attending the summit as a head of state meant he had immunity, but the court disagreed.

Zuma escaped an impeachment attempt over the issue in parliament in September 2016, when ANC lawmakers voted overwhelmingly against it.

AFP

Zuma Slams Moves To Force Him Out As ‘Very Unfair’

People at the Parliamentary Visitors Centre watch a television broadcast of the South African president, Jacob Zuma, at the parliament on February 14, 2018, in Cape Town. South African President Jacob Zuma said ongoing efforts to unseat him by the ruling ANC party were unfair, adding that he had been given no reason by the party why he should resign.
RODGER BOSCH / AFP

South African President Jacob Zuma fought back Wednesday against an order from the ruling ANC party to immediately resign, saying he had been unfairly treated and was given no reason why he should quit.

“It was very unfair to me that this issue is raised,” he said in an unannounced TV interview. “Nobody has ever provided the reasons. Nobody is saying what I have done.”

In a rambling 45-minute interview, Zuma did not directly refuse to resign, but said that he disagreed with “the manner in which the decision is being implemented.”

He repeatedly said he was not defying the ANC leadership, but added that “I don’t agree, as there is no evidence of if I have done anything wrong.”

He said he would make a further statement later Wednesday.

Zuma, whose reputation has been stained by years-long allegations of graft, has been told by the African National Congress (ANC) party to step down.

The South African parliament will hold a vote of no-confidence in Zuma on Thursday if he refuses to go, the ANC said earlier, signalling its determination to eject him from office after days of stalemate.

The struggle has put Zuma at loggerheads with deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, his likely successor, who is the new head of the ANC.

AFP

How South Africa’s President, Zuma Might Leave Office

South Africa's ANC To Hold Talks On Zuma's Future
South African President Jacob Zuma
SIMON MAINA / AFP

Pressure is mounting on South Africa’s scandal-tarred president, Jacob Zuma, to leave office ahead of elections next year.

Here are the ways by which he could leave office early:

Vote of no confidence 

Zuma’s enemies have previously sought to topple him with parliamentary votes of no confidence.

Several such motions have been tabled in parliament but failed.

During the last attempt, in August, the president’s opponents fell short by only 24 votes after some lawmakers from Zuma’s own African National Congress (ANC) party voted against him.

For such a motion to succeed, a simple majority of parliamentarians would be needed — 201 in total. The ANC has 249 seats in the national assembly.

If successful, the president and cabinet would have to resign.

The speaker of parliament would become president for a maximum 30 days.

The radical opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party has tabled another motion of no confidence which is due to be debated in parliament on February 22.

Opposition parties are now requesting it is moved forwarded.

Impeachment 

The impeachment process provides three grounds by which lawmakers can strip the president of office: a serious breach of the constitution; serious misconduct; or incapacity to carry out his or her duties.

Two-thirds — 267 — of the members of the National Assembly would have to vote for the president’s removal for this pathway to succeed.

If a president is removed by impeachment, he or she is replaced by the deputy president, and would lose the perks and benefits normally afforded to former heads of state.

However, the prospects for this are unclear. Parliament’s oversight of the president has been criticised as being too slack.

In 2016, Zuma was found guilty of failing to uphold the constitution by the country’s highest court over taxpayer-funded upgrades to his personal home.

After a court battle, Zuma agreed to pay back $500,000 (410,000 euros) that he had refused to reimburse.

In December, the Constitutional Court criticised parliament for not holding the president to account over this scandal and ordered it to draft clear rules for removing a sitting head of state.

Parliament has begun discussing such a mechanism but could take months to conclude the process.

Resignation and recall 

There are two main scenarios under which Zuma could resign.

He could decide to relinquish power — likely the most dignified option.

This route would “not embarrass the president”, Collette Schulz-Herzenberg, a political science lecturer at Stellenbosch University, said.

Under the other scenario, Zuma could be “recalled” by his party when its National Executive Committee meets on Monday and effectively forced to step down.

If he refused to resign as head of state, the party could then trigger a parliamentary confidence vote to get rid of him.

In 2008 when Jacob Zuma was head of the ANC, it recalled head of state Thabo Mbeki and shortened his term by eight months.

The party then ordered him to quit the presidency, because South African presidents derive their legitimacy from the largest party in parliament which elects them.

The deputy president — Cyril Ramaphosa — would take power and it would be up to the national assembly to pick a new president within 30 days.

AFP

ANC Chiefs To Meet To ‘Finalise’ Zuma Exit

South Africa's ANC To Hold Talks On Zuma's Future
South African President Jacob Zuma
SIMON MAINA / AFP

Top leaders of South Africa’s ruling ANC will meet Monday to finalise the departure of embattled President Jacob Zuma after party chief Cyril Ramaphosa promised to bring “closure” to the crisis.

Ramaphosa said at a party rally in Cape Town on Sunday he wanted to replace “a period of difficulty, disunity and discord” with “a new beginning” for the party.

“We know you want this matter to be finalised,” he said to rapturous cheering, vowing to tackle the corruption that has tarnished Zuma’s government.

Zuma has clung to power after rejecting a request by his party’s senior officials to resign a week ago.

The powerful committee could recall the president from office, though he would be under no constitutional obligation to obey the order.

“We know you want closure — we will be doing so keeping our eyes on what is in the interests of all our people,” Ramaphosa said to loud applause on Sunday.

“The National Executive Committee of the ANC will be meeting tomorrow to discuss this very matter — and because our people want this matter to be finalised, the NEC will be doing precisely that.”

Litha Madita, 48, an NGO worker from Cape Town, welcomed the announcement of the NEC meeting, adding that Ramaphosa has spoken “to the aspirations of the South Africans”.

“It brings hope that there is a new venture we are getting into.

“But we have to respect (Zuma) as a former president of the ANC. It is important not to disrupt the country or bring violence into the country.”

Zuma’s presidency has been marred by corruption scandals, slow economic growth and record unemployment that have fuelled public anger.

The stalemate over Zuma’s departure has left Africa’s most developed economy in limbo, with a series of public events cancelled last week including Thursday’s State of the Nation address to parliament.

Opposition parties last week had threatened a “national shutdown” in response to Zuma’s refusal to resign — although it was unclear if the action would go ahead.

Dispute over exit deal? 

Zuma’s hold over the ANC was shaken in December when his chosen successor — his former wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma — narrowly lost out to Ramaphosa in a vote to be the new party leader.

Sunday’s rally was part of ANC celebrations marking 100 years since late leader Nelson Mandela’s birth — as well as efforts by Ramaphosa to try to revive the party’s tainted reputation ahead of next year’s general election.

“We have arrived at a moment in the history of our country where we can relive that moment when Nelson Mandela was released… we have a new mood right across the country, we can capture that mood and move forward,” said Ramaphosa.

He was speaking to mark the 28th anniversary of the speech Mandela gave in the same location after being released from prison.

It is understood that a key sticking point in the negotiations is the potentially ruinous legal fees Zuma is facing from prolonged court battles against multiple criminal cases.

He is also reportedly seeking legal protection for his family and other associates who have been involved in controversial deals.

“Even if the ANC meeting on Monday decides Zuma needs to step down, he can still refuse because they have no legal authority,” Mcebisi Ndletyana, politics professor at the University of Johannesburg, told AFP.

“He is not willing to step down voluntarily. They need to close this thing early this week.”

Opposition parties are calling for a parliamentary vote of no-confidence within days.

– Decision time? –
The ANC has insisted there will be no delay to the budget, which is due on February 21.

Zuma has not spoken publicly since being asked to resign by senior ANC officials on February 4.

In 2008, the party pushed out then-president Thabo Mbeki over allegations of abuse of power.

Under Zuma, the ANC won less than 54 percent of the vote in local elections in 2016.

That was its worst electoral performance since coming to power with Mandela at the helm in 1994.

AFP

ANC To Meet Monday As Jacob Zuma Deadlock Tightens

Cyril Ramaphosa (C), South African Deputy president, and newly elected president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) attends a church service at St George’s Cathedral, on February 11, 2018, in Cape Town. The top decision-making body of South Africa’s ruling ANC will meet on February 12, 2018 following days of talks over President Jacob Zuma’s expected departure from office, a party spokeswoman said.
RODGER BOSCH / AFP

The top decision-making body of South Africa’s ruling ANC will meet on Monday following days of talks over President Jacob Zuma’s expected departure from office, a party spokeswoman said Sunday.

“An NEC (national executive committee) meeting is scheduled for tomorrow in Pretoria,” ANC spokeswoman Khusela Diko told AFP, declining to reveal the meeting’s agenda.

South Africa’s president-in-waiting Cyril Ramaphosa has said negotiations should be concluded within days.

But Zuma, whose presidency has been tainted by graft scandals, has clung to power after rejecting a request by senior officials of the African National Congress to resign a week ago.

The stalemate over Zuma leaving office has left South Africa in limbo, with a series of public events cancelled last week including Thursday’s State of the Nation address to parliament in Cape Town.

Zuma’s hold over the ANC was shaken in December, when his chosen successor — his former wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma — narrowly lost out to Ramaphosa in a vote to be the new party leader.

Ramaphosa will address a major ANC party rally in Cape Town on Sunday.

The rally is part of ANC celebrations marking 100 years since Mandela’s birth, as Ramaphosa tries to revive the party’s tarnished reputation.

AFP

South Africa Postpones State Of Nation Address Amid Turmoil

(FILE PHOTO)

South Africa on Tuesday postponed its State of the Nation address, the keynote political event of the year, as the ruling ANC party is roiled by a battle to unseat President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma, in power since 2009, is fighting for his survival and faces the risk of soon being ousted from office by his own party after multiple graft scandals.

The African National Congress, which has ruled since Nelson Mandela won the post-apartheid 1994 election, is divided over whether Zuma should be “recalled” from his position.

As president, Zuma had been due to deliver the State of the Nation address to parliament in Cape Town on Thursday.

But the party’s national executive committee, its highest decision-making body, will hold a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss his possible removal.

“We thought that we needed to create room for establishing a much more conducive political atmosphere in parliament,” parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete told reporters.

“When we met the president this afternoon, we then learnt that he was already writing to parliament to ask for the postponement.

“A new date for the state of the nation address will be announced, very soon.”

AFP