Regard must be had to the higher standard of conduct expected from public officials, and the number of falsehoods that have been put forward by the Public Protector in the course of the litigation. This conduct included the numerous “misstatements”, like misrepresenting, under oath, her reliance on evidence of economic experts in drawing up the report, failing to provide a complete record, ordered and indexed, so that the contents thereof could be determined, failing to disclose material meetings and then obfuscating the reasons for them and the reasons why they had not been previously disclosed, and generally failing to provide the court with a frank and candid account of her conduct in preparing the report. The punitive aspect of the costs order therefore stands.
The ANC Youth League and the Young Communist League held a press conference today. Business Day reports as follows on this:
Jacob Zuma has emerged unscathed from the Supreme Court of Appeal’s dismissal of Schabir Shaik’s appeal against his corruption convictions, the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League said today.
“The Supreme Court of Appeal passed the unequivocal message that the person found guilty was Mr Shaik and not [ANC deputy president] Zuma,” league president Fikile Mbalula told a news conference in Johannesburg.
I think for once I agree with the Youth League. The Court was extremely careful to focus on the guilt of Shaik and to make clear that they are finding that Shaik had the intention to commit corruption and bribery. But then the Youth League continues as follows:
Mbalula said judge Craig Howie’s ruling on Monday did nothing to enhance or diminish the possibility of the National Prosecuting Authority recharging Zuma for corruption.
“Any re-charging of Zuma would constitute a witchhunt, a fishing expedition that would effectively perpetuate the NPA’s continued leap from one disaster to another.”
Here Mr Mbablula’s wishful thinking overshadow his common sense. Any cursory reading of the judgment shows that the judgment found beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Zuma received more than a million Rand an from Shaik to subsidise an extravagant lifestyle, and then used his power and prestige as ANC Deputy President and then as Deputy President of the country to assist his friend in his business dealings. It also found the encrypted fax was rightly admitted.
The jugdment clearly bolsters the state’s case, but more importantly, it diminishes Zuma’s political standing because it makes clear there was (and still is) a case for him to answer and that the charges brought against him was thus not a witchhunt (and obviously not a fishing expedition because that is just logically impossible).