Jacob Zuma’s legal battles have finally ended. The Mail and Guardian reports that the National Prosecuting Authority has dropped all corruption charges against the ANC leader. Unfortunately, the end of this eight year legal case only opens a new governance scandal for South Africa.
Telephone recordings released by the NPA expose the manipulation of the timing of the case by former head of South Africa’s Directorate of Special Operations (DSO), Leonard McCarthy. At today’s news conference, an NPA spokesperson stated: “Using one’s sense of justice and propriety as a yardstick by which McCarthy’s abuse of the process is measured, an intolerable abuse has occurred which compels a discontinuation of the prosecution… What Mr McCarthy did was not simply being over-diligent in his pursuit of a case, it was pure abuse of process. If Mr McCarthy’s conduct offends one’s sense of justice, it would be unfair as well as unjust to continue with the prosecution.”
McCarthy is no longer the head of the DSO, or “Scorpions” as it is commonly referred to in South Africa, but he is far from retired. In May 2008, McCarthy assumed a new role as the head of the World Bank’s Department of Institutional Integrity. At the time of McCarthy’s acceptance, the Bank’s President Robert B. Zoellick announced, “Leonard McCarthy is recognized worldwide for his integrity, independence, and effectiveness in fighting corruption and strengthening good governance.” After today’s news, a statement like that must sting!
— Norah Mallaney and Global Integrity
In South Africa, the debate over Zuma’s dropped charges continues as prominent lawyers, leaders and activists speak out. Law expert Wim Tengrove expressed his disagreement with the decision in a speech at the University of Cape Town last week. You can listen to a recording of Tengrove’s presentation here: