JOHANNESBURG, A proposed plan to rescue President Jacob Zuma from future prosecution and unify the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), before the party holds leadership election this December, has been met with scepticism of political commentators.
Media reports say ANC presidential hopeful Lindiwe Sisulu, who is the Minister of Human Settlements, had suggested here over the weekend that there be amnesty for President Zuma for crimes that he is alleged to have committed to rescue the party’s battered image.
Sisulu’s proposal comes as the Democratic Alliance (DA), the main opposition party, continues to pursue its legal battle to have about 783 corruption charges reinstated against President Zuma. The matter will be heard on Sept 15 at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), which is in Bloemfontein in Free State Province.
The decision to drop the charges was taken in 2009 by the then acting National Director of Public Prosecutions, Mokotedi Mpshe.
With the ANC leadership battle intensifying, reports have emerged that an exit plan may be under discussion to convince President Zuma to bow out of office without facing any criminal or corruption-related prosecution.
Recent media reports allege that a two-billion-Rand (about 154 million US dollars) settlement package could be made available to President Zuma, should he agree to terms of his departure from high office.
It’s speculated that the deal is aimed at salvaging the President’s legacy and to restore the ANC’s battered image. In response, the DA has described the Zuma “political settlement” reports as “outrageous”.
James Selfe, the DA’s Federal Executive Chairman, said: You cannot have a situation where a President is subject to one set of laws and ordinary South Africans subjected to a different set of laws. We reject this amnesty proposal. Zuma must not be indemnified because the ruling party is unable to get rid of him.
Some suggestions are that the plan is an attempt to encourage President Zuma not to influence the outcome of the party leadership contest which will culminate in the election of his successor at the ANC December conference.
Independent political analyst Ralph Mathekga has argued that any attempt to grant President Zuma immunity from prosecution will compromise the independence of State institutions for political interests.
This kind of a deal will amount to the formation of parallel institutions. It says the functioning of those institutions will depend on the whims of the political leadership whenever notable politicians are involved.
Constitutional law expert Pierre De Vos says any move to shield President Zuma from possible future prosecution through an amnesty will be a gross violation of the Constitution.
Legally there is no provision in the law to give amnesty to people. In an ideal world the prosecutions authority should prosecute anyone and amnesty is something that cannot be granted. I think Miss Sisulu didn’t understand where the law allows and does not allow.
Meanwhile, ANC Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa has dismissed reports that the ruling party leadership is considering an exit package or immunity from prosecution for President Zuma.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK