Zuma’s corruption case won’t destabilise SA, but his supporters might – analyst, Newsline

Johannesburg – Political analyst Professor Kealeboga Maphunye says former president Jacob Zuma’s legal woes are unlikely to undermine stability in the country given its strong democratic traditions and the fact that Zuma is unpopular among the current ANC leadership.

“Given South Africa’s 27-year record of a democratically governed country that is committed to the rule of law, there are fewer chances for civil war or political instability. Besides, many members of the governing ANC party do not support the former president on his defiant stance against the Zondo Commission and the Constitutional Court,” Maphunye said.

On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the president of the ANC, challenged people who accuse the judiciary of wrongdoing to present proof of these allegations.

Zuma has consistently accused State Capture Inquiry chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo of bias and insisted that he would not receive fair treatment if he were to testify before the inquiry. He also lashed out at the judiciary after the Constitutional Court ruled that he must appear before the Zondo Commission and co-operate by answering questions put to him.

The former president has accused judges, without providing specifics, of accepting bribes.

However, Maphunye added that the political situation in South Africa might be destabilised by the actions of Zuma’s supporters.

“Yet, the country could face its first and probably the biggest threat to its political stability since it achieved its political independence in 1994 as there have been murmurs and rumours of possible defiance and pro-Zuma demonstrations ever since Zuma began facing possible legal prosecution arising from his corruption-tainted presidential terms,” Maphunye said.

The High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday postponed the corruption case against Zuma and French defence firm Thales over illicit arms dealings until May 17.

On Monday, DCJ Zondo filed an urgent application with the Constitutional Court to have Zuma found guilty of contempt of the court, after the former president failed to appear before Zondo for questioning. The chief justice also requested that Police Minister Bheki Cele and Police Commissioner Khehla Sithole be prepared to arrest Zuma.

Spokesman of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Sipho Ngwema told Sputnik that after Zuma appeared briefly in the court this morning, the hearing was delayed until the earliest possible date for a number of reasons.

“The only way the former President would not show up would depend on whether or not it was pre-arranged with the consent of all parties. We are also happy that because this was the earliest available date for all of us,” Ngwema said.

Forced out of power in 2018 amid the sprawling corruption scandal, 78-year-old Zuma has been charged with 16 counts of corruption, racketeering, fraud and money laundering for a 1999 arms deal, and is accused of receiving millions of rands in bribes in a total of 783 payments when he was vice-president.