As the song goes, where have all the good men gone? Come on manne, a woman is taking on the ANC! Stand up and be counted. Say what needs to be said, get thrown out of meetings, gatherings, parliament sittings, debates, TV panels whatevah, but state your say and show some balls. Enough with the pansy wansy letter writing, parliamentary questions and running to the SA Human Rights Commission like any of it will achieve anything. Your electorate demands strong leadership and a woman is showing you the way.
Corruption is a cancer eating away at our society. As we have seen in every society where a culture of corruption is allowed to take hold, the poor become poorer. Taxes are not used to deliver services, they are used to line the pockets of the powerful. Investors stop investing in job-creating enterprises because they have little faith that their money will be used appropriately.
Corruption, if it is allowed to spread, starts a cycle of poverty that is difficult to break. This is why I am so determined to ensure that we do not allow this to happen in South Africa. We still have the potential to be a first class democracy and we can still ensure that there is prosperity for all in generations to come. But that depends on the choices we make now.
I find it curious that some people say that I have no business worrying about Jacob Zuma's corruption trial. They say that I must respect the principle that people are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Of course I respect that principle. But if we allow Zuma to escape his day in court as a result of a back-room deal with the National Prosecuting Authority, we will be no closer to knowing whether he is guilty or innocent. There will be a cloud hanging over his head and the entire government. Escaping prosecution is not the same thing as acquittal. If he never appears in court he cannot be presumed innocent.
If Zuma is indeed innocent, then he must clear his name in a court of law. In fact, he should be begging the NPA not to drop the charges so that he has the opportunity to exonerate himself. But he has not done that. He has dragged out the case at every opportunity. And now, he is reportedly blackmailing the NPA to make sure that he never gets his day in court.
Yesterday, Jacob Zuma told me to "back off." Well, I have news for him: I will never do that. I will continue to hold him and the ANC to account. That is my responsibility as the Leader of the Official Opposition and it is my duty as a citizen.
The fact of the matter is that Jacob Zuma has a case to answer in court. This is as clear as day. It is a fact that Schabir Shaik was found guilty of giving Jacob Zuma money to further Shaik's interests in the arms deal. The NPA has evidence that Jacob Zuma accepted 783 payments totaling over R4 million.
If the National Prosecuting Authority drops the charges against Jacob Zuma, we will demand to know why it did so. If the possibility exists that the DA can take the matter further, we will do so. What we will not do is allow the powerful in our society to escape justice purely on the basis that they hold power. Our duty is to defend the weakest and most vulnerable members of society. In this case, it is you, me and the very fabric of our constitutional democracy that is threatened. We will continue to do everything in our power to make sure that Jacob Zuma and every other powerful politician involved in arms deal corruption has their day in court.
This is an extract of a speech prepared for delivery by Democratic Alliance leader, Helen Zille.