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Doors close around former president

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The former president was hoping that Ramaphosa would oppose the review application, buying him more time by delaying his trial

Jacob Zuma

WHILE former president Jacob Zuma was out campaigning for the ANC this past weekend, news came out of another blow which could hamper his bid for a permanent stay of prosecution in his fraud and corruption trial.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will not oppose a review application, brought by Corruption Watch and Right2Know, into the findings of the Seriti Commission of Inquiry, which made no findings of culpability in the R46.7billion arms deal.

Appearing on television in April, 2016, to announce the findings of the commission, which was chaired by retired judge Willie Seriti, Zuma said: “The commission does not make any recommendations. There are no findings”.

Critics of the Seriti Commission have accused it of being a whitewash and, most importantly, that crucial evidence was not presented.

In his television address, Zuma said: “On whether (anyone) influenced the award or conclusion of any of the contracts in the procurement process, the commission found that the evidence presented before it does not suggest that undue or improper influence played any role in the selection of the preferred bidders, which ultimately entered into contracts with the government.”

What he left out was that his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, was found guilty of corruption, and spent time behind bars until he was dubiously released on medical parole for being “terminally ill”.

In the nine years that he was in power, Zuma used state institutions to ensure that he would never stand in the dock. All that changed last year, when the NPA reinstated fraud and corruption charges against him.

The former president was hoping that Ramaphosa would oppose the review application, buying him more time by delaying his trial.

With his path narrowing, Zuma will look for other ways, perhaps inside the ANC, to ensure that his trial does not go ahead.

Zuma’s supporters have for a while now been rumbling about calling for a special National General Council, where it is hoped they can axe Ramaphosa.

The only problem is that politically they can’t make the case for his removal, never mind the fact that they would require a groundswell of support.