Friday, July 25, 2008

Complex quandary for us

I really don’t know how to solve the moral and political quandary over Jacob Zuma’s impending trial and its threat to his presidency.

If Zuma is found guilty and given a sentence of 12 months or more, he will not be allowed to become President of South Africa.

However, Zuma’s alleged crime is fairly minor.

There is far worse corruption from other high figures in the ANC who have not been charged by the National Prosecuting Authority.

The Invume affair, in which an alleged R11 million from PetroSA was given to the ANC, never lead to any prosecution.

The charges hanging over Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi are far worse than those against Zuma, but he keeps his job. Legal corruption in the form of BEE deals has seen ANC figures receive far greater sums of money than Zuma ever did.

Zuma’s supporters claim that he is a victim of a political plot. They are probably right. It does seem that President Mbeki used the organs of the state against Zuma because he was a political opponent.

Zuma’s supporters have been making menacing sounds recently. They have threatened to kill for Zuma and said there will be hell to pay if he does not become President. They have accused the Constitutional Court of being “counter-revolutionary”. (A “counter-revolutionary” is simply anyone who stands in the way of their path to power and money.)

But what does a just man think? Suppose the speed limit is 60km/h and you are doing 61km/h while everybody else is doing 100km/h. A traffic cop picks out you, and only you, and fines you. Have you any right to complain? You were breaking the limit. But you would feel it was unfair.

If Zuma is found guilty, all of the correct principles of law will have been followed. Does it matter that more guilty men were never charged? Does it matter that he was charged simply because he was in the wrong political camp? I feel it does but I cannot back this up with any sound principle of justice.

But if Zuma becomes President and quashes the charges against him by some legal or political device using his powers of presidency, we should all know that an injury had been done to the rule of law.

I cannot find any solution to this quandary that would be legal, fair and just.

Andrew Kenny’s column appears in The Citizen every Tuesday

0 Opinion(s):