Monday, September 1

The ANC responds to the, erm...CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS

Lynch-mob mentality does nothing for justice or clean government

South Africans should not allow the rule of law and basic principles of justice to be sacrificed to the 'lynch-mob' mentality which has seized opposition parties and much of the media in recent weeks.

This mob mentality follows the investigation of allegations against Deputy President Jacob Zuma by the Scorpions, and the announcement last weekend of their decision not to prosecute.

Throughout this process the ANC has steadfastly held the view that the law must take its course and that the relevant authorities must fully exercise their responsibility. It has held fast to the principle that a person must be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

The Deputy President, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing, has cooperated fully with the investigation.

Despite this unambiguous commitment to due legal process, and despite the fact that the allegations have not been tested in a court of law, opposition parties and many in the media have immersed themselves in a frenzy of savage political and personal attacks.

In the face of this unseemly onslaught, the ANC this week said the Deputy President would not resign his position as a deputy president of the country.

"The ANC reiterates its position that until such time a court of law or competent institution of justice passes a guilty verdict, the Deputy President will not be subjected to any disciplinary process or be asked to relinquish his position."

"We must desist from the temptation to subvert due processes and pass judgment without evidence that has been tested in a court of law," it said.

Since 1994 the ANC-led government has achieved much in the effort to tackle corruption and criminality, and to promote accountability and transparency in public life. The institutions which have been established, and othersthat have been transformed, have scored numerous successes in exposing and
curbing corruption.

These successes have been possible because these institutions have been systematic and rigorous in their work. The rule of law has been observed and the independence of the judiciary respected.

This work must continue. The fight against corruption must be conducted within our legal system, on the basis of facts and in line with the law. Anyone suspected of criminal behaviour, regardless of who they are, should be subject to investigation, and, if the competent authority deems necessary, should be tried without fear or favour.

Yet what we have witnessed in the last few weeks is nothing short of trial by media, where rumour and speculation is enough for a person to be charged, tried and convicted. A number of political parties have willingly - and energetically - participated in this spectacle, sensing that there is much
political mileage to be gained from destroying the reputation of the Deputy President and casting doubt on the integrity of the ANC.

Earlier this week, these parties seized on the indictment prepared in the case of Schabir Shaik, a Durban businessmen and financial advisor to the Deputy President, to further malign the Deputy President and suggest the ANC may have been party to illegal activities through a company called Floryn Investments.

These suggestions are false. In a statement released this week, ANC Head of Communications Smuts Ngonyama said: "We wish to state categorically that the ANC has no relationship with Floryn Investments, or with Nkobi Holdings for that matter."

Suggestions that the ANC may have benefited from the arms deal are at best mischievous and at worst malicious, he said.

"We wish to emphasise that the ANC has never benefited from the arms deal, directly or indirectly, and any suggestions to the contrary are nothing more than slander aimed at undermining the integrity of the ANC," he said.

The scale and intensity of the media onslaught over the last few days and weeks, while most disturbing, should not deter South Africans from the important tasks we face as a nation.

It should not deter us from our efforts to preserve the integrity and strengthen the capacity of our criminal justice system. It should not distract us from our efforts, through the legal system, to tackle corruption wherever it manifests itself.

And it should not deter us from our determined effort to push back the frontiers of poverty, to create new and increasing opportunities for all our people, and to build a united and democratic nation.

God forbid that we are deterred from nation building by these nasty lies told by those 'apartheid' cronies. God forbid that the ANC should actually 'respond' to the allegations. But maybe if the left hand denies hard enough the right hand will be forgotten.


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