The possibility of “imminent” corruption charges being filed against Jacob Zuma, who was elected head of the African National Congress, raised new issues concerning his bid for the presidency of South Africa. His financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, is already serving a 15 year sentence after being found guilty of taking bribes. Initial corruption charges against Zuma were halted in September, but due to a continuing vigorous investigation, it appears the basis for an indictment now exists. Acting national director of public prosecutions, Mokotedi Mpshe, said, “the investigation is complete. All that we are doing now is to tie the loose ends. The investigation, with the evidence we have now, points to a case that can be taken to court.”
Zuma indicated he wanted his day in court to present his version regarding the allegations of corruption. At a press conference, he stated his willingness to work with outgoing President Thabo Mbeki, despite the acrimonious relationship between the two leaders of the African National Congress. In response to questions about Zimbabwe, Zuma made vague remarks that he continued hoping there would be changes in the collapsed nation ruled by Robert Mugabe, but he opposed sanctions against the country. “We are going to continue with quiet diplomacy.”
It is unusual for a presidential candidate in any nation have to spend time in court responding to charges of corruption. The more intriguing question is what would happen if Zuma was convicted as well as winning the election to the presidency? Could he pardon himself?