Carol Paton Editor at Large

The end of Jacob Zuma, which it is hoped will come in between the writing of this column and its publication, will not have come a moment too soon for many of us. Talk of a deal that would spare him from jail were he to testify against the Gupta family is preposterous. It’s preposterous because Zuma was no bystander in their crimes; he was the villain who invited them in. It’s also preposterous because no guarantee against prosecution can be provided by a political negotiation. Just ask Tony Yengeni how a politically negotiated "plea bargain" worked out for him. In the months after it emerged that he had received a substantial discount on a car from one of the companies involved in the arms deal, Yengeni was charged with fraud. In January 2003 he met then justice minister Penuell Maduna and then national director of public prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka, at Maduna’s home and was persuaded to avoid a lengthy trial and plead guilty. In return, he later claimed in court papers, Ngcuka pr...

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