This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

The Rule of Law in South Africa

"It's not the sort of decision that's going to be easy to overturn on appeal, because it seems to me, it is so well-reasoned."
"It's a very powerful judgement because it's a unanimous decision by three judges saying that abuse of process is not something that the prosecution service may rely on."
James Grant, lawyer, South African High Court

"The ANC's woes continue in the rump to the local government elections and they will have an even harder time managing their image after having decided not recall him."
Cherrel Africa, head, political studies, University of the Western Cape
President Jacob Zuma delivered an update on several initiatives and programs announced in his State of the Nation address at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 11 August 2015. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

The sainted, dearly departed leader of the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela, gave the world reason to believe that an African leader could after all, represent the dark continent's turn toward a humane, uncorrupted administration. Mr. Mandela's name and reputation as a man of peace and integrity limned the African National Congress with the brightness of a sun shining upon a new generation of equality, respect and rule of law.

South Africa is still roiled by corruption, by endemic poverty, by unemployment and tribalism, by rampant crime and by institutionalized misogyny. Before Jacob Zuma was elected head of the AFC and ultimately president of South Africa he had raped a young woman who trusted him as an old family friend. That woman had been infected with HIV. After Zuma raped her he took all the necessary precautions he deemed required, by taking a shower to immunize himself.

That, as much of anything is the measure of the man. A man who also took advantage of his elevated state position to feather his nest, not discreetly, but ostentatiously, by using tax funds to rebuild his personal home compound at great cost to the beleaguered taxpayer. Now, a South African court has ruled that dropping a corruption case against him seven years ago had been irrational, and that decision is to be set aside.

No fewer than 783 charges against the President of South Africa are to be reinstated. Judge Aubrey Ledwaba ruled at the North Gautent High Court in Pretoria that President Zuma must face all charges in the original indictment dating from April 2009. Churches, civil-rights organizations and opposition parties have been calling for President Zuma to be dismissed.

Despite being a member of BRICS, all of whose economies are doing fairly well (Brazil/Russia/India/China/South Africa), The South African economy is creaking along, risking downgrade to junk credit status.

The top court ruled that President Zuma "failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution" in his treatment of an ombudsman report on graft in security upgrades at  his private rural residence; the finding being that his family had benefited unduly from the improvements. In addition, eight years were spent by prosecutors investigating charges that $360,000 in bribes were taken by Mr. Zuma from arms dealers. Charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering were brought against him.

One of the Saab Gripen fighter jets, bought by the South African Airforce, as part of the country's controversial arms deal - Cape Town, South Africa, 2006

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