Sunday, October 12, 2014 6:03 pm
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has drawn the ire of his countrymen over his dismissal of corruption as a western concept.
Zuma had triggered a chorus of #paybackthemoney, in parliament in August by MP rebels in Julius Malema led Economic and Freedom Fighters, after an Ombudsman report had indicted him for using R246mn public money to refurbish his Nkandla country home.
Now in another case of corruption arising from an arms deal when he was not yet the president, he wants prosecutors to drop a criminal charge against him.
His lawyers wrote the National Prosecuting Authority to drop the case because corruption is a “Western paradigm” and even if it was a crime, a crime where there are “no victims”.
Zuma’s standpoint is similar to the position of Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan, who described corruption as mere common stealing, perhaps undeserving of the opprobrium attached to it internationally.
“Over 70% of what are called corruption (cases), even by EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) and other anti-corruption agencies, is not corruption, but common stealing,” Jonathan told national television in May this year, saying the corruption claims appeared “politically motivated”. Two weeks later, Ekpo Nta, the chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), told an audience in Abuja that “stealing is erroneously reported as corruption” even by “educated” Nigerians.
City Press said today that Zuma’s ideological position on corruption was contained in a memorandum dated March 3 2009 and drawn up by Advocate Billy Downer, the senior state prosecutor who was seconded to the now defunct Directorate of Special Operations (DSO, also known as the Scorpions) for the Zuma investigation. Zuma’s lawyer, Michael Hulley, made representations to the NPA for the charges against him to be dropped, City Press reported.
According to City Press, “The document indicates that page 22 of Zuma’s 88-page written submission deals with one of Zuma’s arguments, which the prosecutors restate as follows: “Western paradigm brands this criminal.
““This” is probably a reference to the types of loans Zuma’s ex-financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, claimed to have innocently given him. Shaik was eventually convicted.
“In their scathing response to this point, the prosecutors write: “The law prescribes that it is criminal. Until the law is amended to provide that institutionalised cronyism is not criminal, the ‘Western paradigm’ will have to be accepted.”
“The response to the argument that there are no victims to the crime was similarly dismissed: “There are victims. The general public.” Based on this synopsis, Downer’s memorandum emphatically recommends that the NPA rejects Zuma’s representations.
“Our conclusion is that even in respect of those issues regarding the merits that Zuma does address, there is no adequate answer to the state’s allegations.
“If anything, Zuma’s representations confirm the structure of the general corruption.”
Lawson Naidoo, the executive secretary for the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, said the statement was “quite shocking”.
He pointed out that South Africa was a signatory to the UN Convention against Corruption, the African Union (AU) Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, as well as the Protocol Against Corruption of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
“So are you saying that the AU and SADC are now following something that is Western?”
.Partially from reports by City Press of South Africa. For more: http://www.citypress.co.za/politics/corruption-western-thing/