It was 15 years ago that the then national director of public prosecutions (NDPP), Bulelani Ngcuka, said there was a prima facie case of corruption against Jacob Zuma, but it was "unwinnable". This seemed strange reasoning. Prima facie — or "on the face of it" — means there appears to be enough evidence to institute a prosecution and get a verdict. In 2009, acting NDPP Mokotedi Mpshe also decided not to prosecute Zuma. He went against the advice of his own senior prosecutors, who believed the case was certainly winnable. Nine years later, we have gone far beyond mere prima facie evidence, and far beyond Zuma himself. The Gupta e-mail leaks have produced thousands of pages of evidence of illegal activity, none of it refuted. The concept of "state capture" has entered the political lexicon, and ministers such as Pravin Gordhan talk unequivocally of politicians and executives at state-owned enterprises (SOEs) having "stolen" from the people. The word "looted" is used routinely, and nob...

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