Tito Mboweni weighs in on Jacob Zuma's arms deal trial: 'None of us is above the law'
Finance minister Tito Mboweni has weighed in on former president Jacob Zuma's arms deal corruption trial, saying Zuma should subject himself to a “fair process of the law.”
Zuma will return to the high court in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday to resume his corruption trial after it was delayed last week.
He is facing charges of racketeering, two counts of corruption and 12 counts of fraud, nine of which are for allegedly making false income tax returns.
He is charged along with French arms manufacturer Thales.
Sunday Times reported that Zuma made a special plea to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), calling for the recusal of state prosecutor advocate Billy Downer.
He stated that the lead prosecutor has “no title to prosecute,” that his prosecution is political and that Downer has it in for him.
Speaking on BBC’s HARDtalk, Mboweni said Zuma must subject himself to the court processes and prove his innocence there.
Mboweni said, for someone who has been in the struggle for so many years, he was “sure” that Zuma is interested in the protection of SA's constitutional democracy.
“I have known him for many years ... I think that all he needs to do is to subject himself to the court processes and prove his innocence there,” he said.
“I think as somebody who has been in the struggle for so many years, I’m sure he is interested in the protection of our constitutional democracy, the rule of law and that he will subject himself to a fair process of the law. That’s very important,” Mboweni added.
South Africa’s Finance Minister @tito_mboweni says former President Zuma ‘needs to subject himself to the court processes and prove his innocence.’ Mr Zuma’s corruption trial opened earlier this month but was adjourned until May 26. He denies the charges. pic.twitter.com/eTyCBqC0E3— BBC HARDtalk (@BBCHARDtalk) May 24, 2021
He said if Zuma let the law take its course, he would become an example of how leadership conducts itself.
“If he does that, it becomes an example of how leadership conducts itself when confronted with such difficult matters,” said Mboweni.
“This is important for future generations, so they can know all of us abide by the law and none of us is above the law.”
On social media, Zuma's daughter, Duduzile, was among many who showed their support for the former president before his trial.
“We are with you and we are behind you,” said Duduzile.