Published: Fri, October 11, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

United States sanctions Guptas over corruption in South Africa

United States sanctions Guptas over corruption in South Africa

Former South African president Jacob Zuma will face trial on corruption charges after a court on Friday dismissed his application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

Zuma, who was forced to resign a year ago over separate corruption allegations, has been accused of taking four million rand ($267,000) in bribes from French defence company Thales.

Advocate Wim Trengrove, representing the state, however, made an impassioned plea that both the NPA and Jacob Zuma's legal team should shoulder the blame for the nearly 15-year-long delay in prosecutions and that criminal proceedings should commence as scheduled for October 15.

The defence also argued that there was enormous political interference in the matter which met his client could not be afforded a fair trial.

Zuma's legal team has argued that his court case has been prejudiced by long delays and that there has been political interference in his prosecution.

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Zuma, in office from 2009-2018, had applied for a permanent stay of prosecution on 18 charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering relating to a deal to buy European military hardware for South Africa's armed forces in the 1990s.

The charges were first brought in 2005. Zuma, who was forced to resign past year over multiple graft allegations, is alleged to have taken the bribes during his time as a provincial economy minister and later as deputy president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in the 1990s.

"The family has been implicated in several corrupt schemes in South Africa, allegedly stealing hundreds of millions of dollars through illegal deals with the South African government, obfuscated by a shadowy network of shell companies and associates linked to the family", the statement said.

Zuma is also set to continue is testimony before the Zondo commission either on October 21 to 25 just a week after his criminal trial or on November 11 to 15.

Business lobby group Business Unity SA has described the decision by the US Treasury to sanctioned the Gupta family as the "sort of decisive action we all need", saying it will reinforce SA campaigns to combat state capture and corruption.

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