POLITICS
16/03/2018 17:42 SAST | Updated 17/03/2018 06:53 SAST

Zuma Cheat Sheet: Seven Questions Answered

Former president Jacob Zuma will now stand trial, but what, when and where? We've got you covered.

Jacob Zuma (centre) and his legal team, Michael Hulley (left) and advocate Kemp J Kemp. This picture was taken on 12 March 2008.
REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Jacob Zuma (centre) and his legal team, Michael Hulley (left) and advocate Kemp J Kemp. This picture was taken on 12 March 2008.

1. Will Jacob Zuma go to court?

Yes, the former president will soon appear in court in Durban on charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering. These relate to bribes allegedly paid to him by Schabir Shaik, a friend and associate, in relation to the controversial arms deal.

2. Who will prosecute the case?

The KwaZulu-Natal director of public prosecutions, Moipone Noko, will make arrangements for Zuma's appearance and the trial. She is, however, considered a Zuma loyalist. It is unclear whether she or Billy Downer, who led the prosecutions team in the Shaik trial, will lead the prosecutions team.

3. How long will it take?

The Shaik trial was conducted in the High Court in Durban and lasted eight months from his plea of not guilty to the delivery of judgment. The Zuma trial will cover the same ground and the same forensic evidence. More than 200 witnesses have already indicated their willingness to testify.

4. Will Zuma go to jail?

In his Shaik judgment, justice Squires – although making no finding against Zuma – said it was clear that a relationship of "mutually beneficial symbiosis" existed between Shaik and the former president. South Africa's anti-corruption laws are very clear about the corruptor and the corrupted – which means Zuma will be up against it.

5. If he's found guilty, how long could Zuma go to jail for?

Legal expert James Grant says if Zuma is convicted on three or more charges of corruption, the Criminal Law Amendment Act stipulates a minimum sentence of 25 years. This is read with the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (Precca), which governs corruption involving amounts of more than R500,000.

6. Will Shaun Abrahams survive?

There is no way Abrahams can or should continue as national director of public prosecutions. He was a willing instrument in Zuma's hands while the latter was president, to conduct witch hunts and help him escape prosecution. The new powers-that-be know this.

7. What will the ANC do?

The ANC issued a statement "noting" the decision and "respecting" the rule of law. This is the same party that fought tooth and nail to keep Zuma out of jail and cried foul whenever charges were levelled against him. If the party is serious about corruption, they will disown him. But don't bet on it.