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Zuma’s time ‘running out’: Zille

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The Democratic Alliance will not disrupt the state-of-the-nation address because it plans to hold President Jacob Zuma to account in court, party leader Helen Zille said on Wednesday.

Addressing around 300 blue-clad supporters outside Parliament, she said Zuma’s time was being eaten up by the “big, blue dog” of the DA.

He thought he could run away from prosecution by paying lawyers from public funds, she said.

“We raise money but we are winning. And on the 16th of March we will see you in court because you will answer to the 700 charges of corruption, money-laundering, and racketeering. We won’t let you hide.”

Supporters cheered in the scorching sun, while workers prepared the parliamentary precinct nearby for Zuma’s annual speech on Thursday.

Zille was referring to a legal application to review the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) decision to drop charges against Zuma.

The NPA recently informed the DA it would oppose the application, which had been set down for next month on the unopposed court roll of the High Court in Pretoria.

Opposing the application meant the matter had to be removed from the roll and set down on a date agreed upon by both parties.

The opposition party was handed the so-called Zuma spy tapes last year after the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled the NPA had to comply with a previous order to release the tapes. Zuma had opposed the move.

The recordings, internal memoranda, reports and minutes of meetings dealing with the contents of the recordings had to be provided.

The tapes, containing recorded phone conversations, allegedly reveal collusion between the former head of the Directorate of Special Operations (the now defunct Scorpions) Leonard McCarthy, and the NPA’s former head Bulelani Ngcuka, to manipulate the prosecutorial process before the African National Congress’s Polokwane conference in 2007.

Zuma was elected ANC president at the conference. Former president Thabo Mbeki had been a contender for another term.

The charges were dropped shortly before Zuma was sworn in as president in 2009. The then acting National Director of Public Prosecutions, Mokotedi Mpshe, said the tapes showed there was a political conspiracy against Zuma and so the case against him could not continue.

Zille said the DA would uphold the rules of Parliament on Thursday, in reference to the Economic Freedom Fighters’ intention to ask Zuma questions while he was addressing the nation.

The EFF did not believe Zuma would be held accountable in Parliament.

“When you play by the rules it may take longer but you win in the end. And when you do win, you have institutions that still work,” Zille said. SAPA

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