The Zuma charges: Justice a long way off The only certainty about the Jacob Zuma corruption case is that it’s going to take a very long time – if ever – to bring the former President, 76 next month, to justice, notes Legalbrief. Our slow-moving courts, the will of the NPA to pursue its erstwhile comrade-in-arms – Director of Public Prosecutions in KZN, Moipone Noko, reportedly a Zuma sympathiser is to take charge of the prosecution – with any commitment, and the generosity of a legal system that enables wealthy accused to employ the best legal minds to delay and obfuscate will prove to be Zuma’s best friends. Now that the NPA has belatedly decided to prosecute him on 16 charges – one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud – the well-worn ‘Stalingrad strategy’, employed so successfully by Zuma in the past, will be rolled out. The first step, as already laid out by Zuma’s lawyer Michael Hulley, is to take NPA head Shaun Abrahams’ decision on review and no doubt to appeal any adverse outcome, although experts claim this tactic amounts to 'clutching at straws' (see report below). Then there’s the permanent stay of prosecution option, already launched by an obscure organisation in the Western Cape High Court, based on the argument that he is unlikely to get a fair trial. In all likelihood it will be years before Zuma finally has to answer to the charges in a criminal court – and then we should prepare for a lengthy battle, lasting perhaps a year or more, to be followed by appeals likely to take it all the way to the Constitutional Court, which raises the question: Will the process be completed in Zuma's lifetime? The first manoeuvre in the new Zuma campaign will become clearer in the next two weeks, notes Legalbrief. Hulley has already made it clear that Zuma's legal team will focus its opening salvo firmly on Abrahams. It will argue that he did not ‘properly apply his mind’ when he dismissed Zuma’s argument that the case should be dropped, according to Business Day. Abrahams will face accusations he did not give proper consideration to Zuma’s concerns about the state’s conduct towards him. ‘We are giving consideration to the one-page and somewhat terse response received from the NDPP wherein he has advised that the representations made on behalf of Jacob Zuma are unsuccessful,’ Hulley is quoted as saying. ‘The rationale for this decision is not clearly apparent from the communication, nor is the basis for the refusal,’ he added. The report notes the former President had filed multiple lever arch files containing claims that the NPS had abused his fair-trial rights, as part of his bid to persuade Abrahams that the case against him could not proceed. His lawyers also denied he had criminal intent when he received money from his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, who has been convicted of corrupting him. Zuma’s lawyers are preparing for a review application in the next two weeks. Crucial to any Zuma legal challenge to the Abrahams decision, says Business Day, will be the Constitutional Court’s ruling – expected any day – on whether his appointment as head of the prosecutorial body is invalid. If the highest court reinforces the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) ruling that Abrahams’ appointment was invalid, Zuma’s lawyers will argue this raises serious questions about his decision. Zuma’s legal team is also expected to argue that Abrahams – under threat of losing his job because of findings that he took Zuma’s side in the so-called spy tapes litigation – was not capable of making a neutral decision. Full Business Day report (subscription needed) Zuma’s lawyers will also argue he had no intention to commit a crime when he and his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik met with French arms manufacturer Thales, and that he was simply following ANC policy to support black business. A Sunday Times report notes that 13 years after Shaik’s conviction, Zuma will have to answer charges relating to payments he received from his former financial adviser and Thales. When (and if) the matter finally gets to criminal court, Zuma's team will contest the merits of the case on the basis that Shaik, whose family members include long-standing friends and comrades of Zuma’s, responded to the ANC’s appeal in the early 1990s that returning exiles should be aided to reintegrate into society. The Sunday Times notes that many ANC leaders who were in exile or prison had no source of income and had to receive financial support from friends, family and benefactors. Zuma was in a particularly precarious position because of the number of children he had. He was in debt. They will also argue that some of the more than R4m from Shaik was in the form of loans, which Zuma repaid. Another cornerstone of the defence will be that as MEC for Economic Development in KZN, Zuma was following the ANC’s approach to support black business to advance economic transformation. While black economic empowerment was only legislated in 2003, Zuma’s team will argue that the ANC decided after the 1994 transition to actively intervene to promote the redistribution of assets and opportunities to black-owned businesses. ‘In the Shaik case, there was admission that money was paid to Zuma. Zuma’s defence will be to provide exculpatory evidence to show there was no corrupt intent,’ a lawyer close to the case reportedly told the newspaper. Full Sunday Times report (subscription needed) Zuma is also assuming the role of victim, arguing he has been badly treated, notes Legalbrief. Abrahams said Zuma's representations largely related to allegations of prosecutorial manipulation, impropriety, fair trial abuses, prosecutorial misconduct and the deliberate leaking of information to the media. Zuma also pointed out that there were inexplicable delays in bringing the matter to trial, notes a News24 report. ‘Mr Zuma, in addition, disputes all the allegations against him and records that he lacked the requisite intention to commit any of the crimes listed in the indictment, said Abrahams when making the announcement, adding: 'I am mindful that everyone is equal before the law and enjoys the rights to equal protection and benefit of the law. Similarly, the NPA, in executing it's constitutional and legal mandate, will ensure that alleged perpetrators of crime will be prosecuted without fear, favour of prejudice, irrespective of their station in life.’ Full News24 report Another potential obstacle in what has become a long and windy road to justice is the stay of prosecution application lodged in the Western Cape High Court. Abrahams announced the application on Friday and said the NPA would oppose it. So will the DA. ‘That man (Zuma) has rights like any other person on this Earth; the Constitution protects him as a person,’ said Lucky Thekisho, the lawyer representing the SA Natives Forum, which launched the case. The application calls for the NPA and Abrahams to permanently stop all pending criminal charges against Zuma. A Daily Maverick report says there is little available information on the SA Natives Forum or Nkhathane Dikobo, who signed the affidavit for the group. They believe prosecuting Zuma would violate his right to a fair trial and claim the NPA has abused prosecutorial process. A Business Day report says the organisation bases its argument largely on a 2004 Public Protector’s report, which said that former NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka had violated Zuma’s rights. It argues that if the ‘gross constitutional violations’ in the Zuma case were ignored and the prosecution against Zuma sanctioned, it would mean ‘sanctioning a politically motivated criminal prosecution … and send(ing) a chilling message that our constitutional dispensation is incapable of offering protection from abuse of the criminal process to achieve purposes other than those sanctioned for the criminal prosecution of crimes’. Advocate James Grant, who has acted in high-profile cases and is a former professor of criminal law at Wits University, reportedly told the DM Zuma might argue his case cannot go ahead while the application is being heard, but the effort would likely fail as the application has no effect in law. Full Daily Maverick report Full Business Day report (subscription needed) Seeking a review of the NPA’s decision – as Hulley plans – is ‘clutching at straws’. Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos said Hulley's statement was ‘odd’. ‘(Abrahams') decision was a decision not to interfere in an existing court ruling. It was not a decision to re-instate charges against Zuma. There was already a standing decision by the courts. The NDPP may consider new representations, but it is under no obligation to do so,’ De Vos is quoted as saying in a HuffPost SA report. ‘The place for questions about the decision to be raised and resolved is in the courts. It's usually done through a permanent stay of prosecution. So it sounds like they (Zuma's lawyers) are clutching at straws, because if Zuma does not want to face the charges, he will have to go to court and try to convince the judges that he will not face a fair trial,’ De Vos said. Grant said a review entails a call for a record of the NPA's decision and any information that was relied on. ‘This record needs to show that the NPA acted rationally in their decision to prosecute Zuma. It is a very low standard the NPA would have to pass to show rationality. Zuma's lawyers are really going up against an incredibly big hurdle if they intend to challenge the decision based on rationality,’ Grant said. Full HuffPost SA report Meanwhile, a campaign has been launched to raise funds to foot Zuma’s legal bill. The National Funeral Practitioners Association of SA (Nafupa-SA) is leading the campaign, according to a Times Select report. Nafupa-SA is the controversial organisation that recently hosted a gala dinner to honour the former President for reviving radical economic transformation and promoting expropriation of land without compensation. It describes itself on its Facebook page as a ‘funeral association representing the majority of the black and previously disadvantaged funeral businesses’. Nafupa-SA president Muzi Hlengwa reportedly told Times Select they had already kicked off their campaign to help raise funds for Zuma’s legal battle as they could not allow ‘Msholozi to fall victim to wild dogs – because we strongly believe that he is being attacked solely for advocating radical economic transformation and land expropriation’. He added: ‘We are busy planning a national tour whereby we will take Msholozi to all nine provinces to ensure the people of SA that he is 100% for radical economic transformation and he has our support. We’re still at a planning stage,’ However, Hlengwa was quick to emphasise that their support for Zuma should not be viewed as political. Nafupa-SA has been accused of fanning racial prejudice by banning white and Indian business owners from operating in the townships, notes the report. Full Times Select report Parties interested in the arms deal will be closely watching developments when Zuma finally goes to trial. A Beeld report quotes former ANC MP Andrew Feinstein as saying he will be looking out for much more dirty laundry in court. Feinstein says Zuma has repeatedly threatened to reveal all he knows about the deal if his own future is at stake. ‘It is wise to remember that Zuma allegedly received R500 000 per year from a French company. That amount was very small compared to the bribes allegedly paid to several other middlemen,’ he noted. Full Beeld report (subscription needed) from lssa23mar2018 ... See more
The POPI Act regulates whatever you do with whoever else’s personal information.
A New York State judge ruled on Tuesday that a defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who has said President Trump made unwanted sexual advances could go forward, raising the possibility of a public airing of other allegations of sexual misconduct against the president. The decision by Justice Jennifer Schecter of State Supreme Court in Manhattan paved the way for lawyers to seek depositions from several women who accused Mr. Trump of sexual harassment before he was elected and to subpoena Trump campaign records related to his female accusers. Justice Schecter rejected Mr. Trump’s argument that a state court has no jurisdiction over a sitting president. She cited a United States Supreme Court ruling that allowed Paula Jones to bring a sexual harassment suit against President Bill Clinton. “No one is above the law,” Justice Schecter wrote. “It is settled that the president of the United States has no immunity and is ‘subject to the laws’ for purely private acts.” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/20/nyregion/trump-defamation-lawsuit-new-york-summer-zervos.html?smid=tw-share ... See more
A state judge has ruled that Summer Zervos, who accused Mr. Trump of groping her, can sue him for defamation for calling her a liar.
Cogta identified that 31% of the country’s municipalities were dysfunctional, while 31% were almost dysfunctional. Only 7% of municipalities were well functioning and 31% were reasonably functional, Mkhize said. Refusing to name municipalities identified as in distress, Mkhize said that the programme would be rolled out to 27 district municipalities https://mg.co.za/article/2018-03-20-55-municipalities-are-dysfunctional-mkhize ... See more
No fewer than 55 municipalities have been identified as distressed or dysfunctional, says Cogta Minister Zweli Mkhize
"We also have to make it easy for people to come to our country. President Ramaphosa has already spoken about the regulatory barriers."" He regards the visa issue as very important and one of his priorities to address "if I am not kicked out again". In his view, the notion of implementing reciprocal visas in "retaliation" to other countries - like New Zealand - having implemented visas for South Africans, is "national stupidity" as one must rather do what is in the best interest of SA in attracting visitors. "We will have robust discussions with the Department of Home Affairs. We have a meeting set up with them already. Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba sees things differently now since he was minister of finance. I think he was able to look at the economy and know that unless we do all sorts of smart things, we will not get economic growth," said Hanekom. https://www.fin24.com/Economy/hanekom-low-investor-confidence-because-of-state-capture-20180320 ... See more
The current low investor confidence in SA is due to state capture and investors want to know what is being done about it, says Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom.
Meetings held between the Governments of Mozambique and South Africa this weekend in Maputo are expected to have resulted in the Ressano Garcia border switching to 24-operations beginning as early as April, opening the possibility of increased trade and tourism between the two countries. At present the border opens 24 hours during peak periods such as December and Easter, the expected announcement will removed the current congestion that hampers the border especially at the end of each month when traffic levels peak. It will bring the Ressano Garcia border, Mozambique's busiest land border, in line with the Goba border with Swaziland that is also a 24-hour border. ... See more
Meetings held between the Governments of Mozambique and South Africa this weekend in Maputo appear to have resulted the Ressano Garcia border switching to a 24-hour border post opening the possibility of increased trade and tourism between the two countries. ... See more
EEinc Esselens Engelbrechts Inc http://mindmatters.co.za/lawyers/ Attorneys Notaries Conveyancers Lodgement 32 Nelspruit Deeds Office Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Office: 013 7900898 www.mindmatters.co.za ... See more
LAND REFORM She intends fighting to ensure land comes with water rights. Work had long begun with her predecessor and now Water and Sanitation Affairs Minister Gugile Nkwinti. Nkwinti previously raised alarm that water rights were allocated to individuals who leave with those rights once they sell the land. Nkoana-Mashabane said the reason most land lay fallow was because owners had no access to water rights. “So people get given back the land but can’t touch any water source without someone who has leased that water source in the JSE.” https://mg.co.za/article/2018-03-18-nkoana-mashabane-talks-tough-on-land ... See more
She intends fighting to ensure land comes with water rights