Shaun Abrahams. Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO
Shaun Abrahams. Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO

Former president Jacob Zuma will be prosecuted for charges of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams announced on Friday.

“In the interest of transparency, justice and the NPA, I am of the view that a trial court will be the most appropriate forum for these issues to be ventilated,” Abrahams said. "Mr Zuma’s representations are unsuccessful.”

Abrahams said he informed Zuma in writing on Thursday, of his decision.

 “After consideration of the matter, I am of the view that there are reasonable prospects of successful prosecution of Mr Zuma on the charges listed in the indictment,” Abrahams said.

Zuma will stand trial in KwaZulu-Natal for 16 charges relating to 783 counts connected with the arms deal over which Schabir Shaikh, his former financial adviser, was jailed for corruption. 

Abrahams said the matter of Zuma's prosecution had passed through the hands of former NPA heads and acting head in some way. It had been a long and litigious issue.​

The High Court reinstated the charges in 2016 and the Supreme Court upheld that decision last year‚ rejecting an appeal by Zuma and describing the NPA’s initial decision to set aside the charges as “irrational”.

Zuma denied all the allegations against him, said Abrahams, adding that the former president firmly placed the blame at the door of role players at the NPA.

Abrahams gave Zuma the opportunity to make new representations to the NPA before making a decision on whether he should face the charges.

Zuma did this on January 31.

Just two weeks after that decision, the ANC recalled Zuma and a day later he resigned as president.

Earlier this week, the Constitutional Court dismissed an urgent application lodged by the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac,) to stop Abrahams from making such an announcement until the same court had made a finding on whether he would remain in his job.

This meant that after Thursday, Abrahams was free to make the announcement.

The NPA had said Abrahams would make a public announcement only once he had informed Zuma.

Business Day