- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: Jacob Zuma says he's "vindicated" after all charges dropped.
- Date: 8th April 2009
- Summary: NEWSPAPER HEADLINE, "NGCUKA TO BE CHARGED"
- Embargoed: 23rd April 2009 13:00
- Location: South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVADYPKEBVR9LLW5ZXXWQLQEB9B2
- Story Text: South Africa's Jacob Zuma says a corruption case against him was
"political and manipulative" and he has been vindicated after a judge formally dropped all the charges.
South Africa's Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday (April 7) he had been "vindicated" after prosecutors dropped corruption charges against him.
Zuma said an 8-year battle by prosecutors to convict him was "political and manipulative" and that any suggestion a "cloud" would hang over him because the case was dismissed on a technicality was a media fiction.
"I don't feel anything. What is I think is important, as I've said in my remarks, is that with regard to the question of manipulation and political conspiracy, I have been vindicated and that's what is important. The issue that one time I was employed and now unemployed is not the issue,"
Zuma, dressed in a pin-stripe black suit and joking with reporters, told a news conference in Durban broadcast live on local television.
"The manner in which you guys write, you write as if allegations are a conviction. Including the people who say Zuma must now resign. You can only do so if you have been convicted. You are creating a new kind of phenomenon that once there are allegations then you are guilty. I think, in fact, you are not respecting our constitution, particularly the South African media in particular," added Zuma.
"There is no cloud. There was never a cloud, there has been allegations that I was ready to clarify and deal with it in court. So that is really the only imagination."
Zuma's ANC party is widely expected to win an April 22 election and choose him as president of Africa's biggest economic power, although it faces an unprecedented challenge from the new Congress of the People (COPE) party, which hopes to lure voters uneasy with the ANC's record on corruption.
A judge at a Durban High Court on Tuesday formally endorsed a decision by prosecutors to drop the case against Zuma after it uncovered "abuses" of the legal process by allies of former president Thabo Mbeki, Zuma's arch foe.
The move gives Zuma a big boost ahead of the election anda legal battle that raised doubts over his ability to govern, but analysts and the opposition say suspicion will continue to dog him because the case was never settled in court.
Zuma, whose ANC party ousted Mbeki as president last year, said he would not seek revenge against his political enemies but would concentrate on tackling issues such as poverty, crime and HIV/AIDS.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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