CAPE TOWN, March 16 – The ruling African National Congress on Friday responded to the reinstatement of criminal charges against former president Jacob Zuma by saying it wanted to reaffirm its commitment to the principle of equality before the law.
“The ANC reaffirms its confidence in our country’s criminal justice system and our respect for the independence of the judiciary. We equally affirm our commitment to the constitutionally enshrined principle of equality of all before the law,” the ANC said.
It asked South Africans to allow the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to do its work after it announced the decision on Friday to reinstate 16 charges, including fraud and corruption, against Zuma.
“Accordingly we call on South Africans at large to afford the NPA space to conduct its work unhindered, we continue to assert the inalienable right of all in our country, including Comrade Jacob Zuma, to be presumed innocent until and if proven guilty.”
The party last month ordered Zuma to resign, a year before the end of his second term in office.
The opposition United Democratic Movement welcomed the announcement, and said the opposition deserved credit for fighting to ensure that the former president had his day in court.
“That this has happened, in part due, to sustained pressure from the opposition and civil society, which is a sign that some of the checks and balances of our democracy is healthy and hail.”
The party said Zuma should now be made to repay the public funds that he had spent in legal fees over the last nine years fighting the reinstatement of the charges.
“Mr Zuma should be sued for the R15 million of taxpayers’ money that he has squandered on legal fees to defend his dubious deeds.”