South Africa: President Zuma Must Take the Lead in the Fight Against Corruption

press release

Yesterday during the ANC’s birthday celebrations in Durban, President Zuma called on institutions to keep up the fight against crime and corruption, and not to become complacent.

This would be welcome if we could take him seriously. If the ANC want the South African people to believe that they are serious about fighting crime and corruption, then President Zuma needs to take the following steps:

First, he must instruct his attorneys to make available the “spy tapes” and other relevant information that the Democratic Alliance has been fighting to obtain since the 783 charges against him were withdrawn by the NPA. If the President has nothing to hide then there is no reason to continue obstructing our access to them.

Secondly, he must appoint a permanent head of the Special Investigating Unit, which has now had an acting head for over a year. The person he appoints should be someone who is independent and who is a person of integrity in whom the public can have confidence.

Lastly, he must appoint a permanent head of the National Prosecuting Authority. Again, this must be a person who is fit and proper and somebody with the utmost integrity and independence. It must be a person who is not in any way beholden to the President, in particular, and who can and will exercise their powers based only on the available evidence in deciding whether a prosecution should proceed or not.

If the President is serious about the fight against corruption, then he will take these steps as a matter of urgency. This will be his first test after his re-election as President of the ANC, and will set the tone for the remainder of his Presidency.

Debbie Schafer, DA Deputy Spokesperson on Justice and Constitutional Development