IOL: 'We must stop the Zuma trial'
The MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Bheki Cele, has asked the ANC's eThekwini region to adopt a motion calling on the ANC to stop the fraud and corruption charges against its president, Jacob Zuma.
In a week in which a High Court judge has been cited as interfering in the Zuma appeal process, Cele added political pressure for the charges to be dropped, as they were nothing more than a "gruesome political vendetta".
Speaking on Saturday at the fourth regional conference of the ANC's eThekwini region at the Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, Cele said, "The time has come for us to make a call that the so-called trial of JZ (Zuma) should be squashed, crashed, nullified and find no passage in the judicial system of this country," said Cele to the thunderous applause of more than 1 000 delegates.
"We say this because we believe that Comrade JZ has been subjected to one of the most gruesome political vendettas, and methods used up to this point, including the Scorpions, do not instil confidence that he will get a fair trial," said Cele.
If the eThekwini region adopts a resolution calling for Zuma's charges to be dropped, the region has the power to sway the province - which could lead to the province adopting this resolution at next month's congress.
Zuma's allies, the ANC Youth League, Cosatu and the SACP have also called for the charges against Zuma to be dropped.
Last month Cosatu announced it had set up a task team to organise mass action in KwaZulu-Natal aimed at putting pressure on the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to drop the charges.
ANC spokeswoman Jessie Duarte said Cele, as a member of the NEC, had the authority to call for Zuma's charges to be dropped, as the case had been going on for far too long.
University of KwaZulu-Natal law expert, Robin Palmer, said what Cele was proposing was no different from President Thabo Mbeki's interference in the arrest of National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi.
"You cannot interfere with the independence of the courts.
"The only person who has the authority to withdraw the charges is acting head of the NPA, Mokotedi Mpshe, acting on the advice of Shamilla Batohi.
However, if he drops the charges he will be seen to be bowing to the political pressure of the ANC," said Palmer.
This whole incident, and the complete disregard the ANC and government appears to have for the law and judicial system reminds me of a cartoon by zapiro.
I am worried for my country, especially after JZ's Jesus statements recently. I fear he may be more of a Mugabe than we have recently admitted. Just because he seemed to be the lesser of two evils when compared to T-bone, it doesn't make him right - in any way or form.
I have also noticed that, should one publicly offend/attack/criticize the man, bad things happen. I am sure he has a tokolosh on his payroll.
I wish a strong opposition would form, giving us an alternative that the volk would vote for in the next elections.