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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

Statements on Shabir Shaik Judgement

COSATU Press Statement on Shabir Shaik Judgement, 06 June 2005

A long scheduled meeting of COSATU affiliated unions senior national representatives met today. Almost every COSATU union was represented at the level of the President, General Secretary or their deputies. The purpose of the meeting was to plan and execute the campaign in defence of our jobs as per the decision of the COSATU CEC held on the 23 25 May 2005. Inevitably, the leaders of the unions discussed the turn of events in the Shabir Shaik trial. COSATU is outraged by the calls that the Deputy President resign or be fired by the President.

COSATU stands firmly in support of its long-standing position against corruption and misuse of power. Where there is evidence against anyone no matter what is their standing in the society, the prosecuting authorities should vigorously execute its duties t o bring the defaulters to book.

In the case of the Deputy President, however, the NPA announced that it had no sufficient evidence against him. Yet despite this, it is now clear from the reaction of the media, and opposition parties and others that this was always a political trial of the Deputy President through Shabir Shaik. The affiliates are unanimous that the call on the Deputy President to r esign or be fired, if allowed to prevail, would represent a major attack on the integrity of judicial system, the office of the Deputy President and the current incumbent as a person. It would create a dangerous precedence where in the future individuals constitutionally guaranteed right to fair trial would be denied in pursuance of clear political agendas and vendetta.

COSATU insists that the principle of being presumed innocent until proven guilty should be upheld. The events of the past week confirm a long held view by COSATU that the trial of Shabir Shaik was nothing but a political trial of the Deputy President in absentia. The choice of a long retired judge who is a former Justice Minister of the then Rhodesia in dicates the extent to which the country have not succeeded to transform its judicial system.

The manner in which this whole trial was ran for years, not just for the official duration of the Shabir Shaik trial, indicates and exposes a systematic campaign to assassinate the character of the Deputy President. This, amongst other things, includes the leaking of information during strategic political periods.

In our view this is not just a total miscarriage of justice but also an onslaught on our revolution itself. It is in this context that COSATU would defend, not just Jacob Zuma, but the office of the Deputy President, the integrity of our judicial system, o ur revolution and the movement as a whole.

We stand firmly by the Deputy President in this hour of need and join the growing chorus of the progressive forces to defend his integrity in the face of a clear political onslaught. We shall continue to pledge solidarity with him.

COSATU would approach its Alliance partners and ensures that an emergency meeting of the Alliance leadership shall be convened to discuss this matter. We are convinced that this matter, if handled inappropriately, would have a huge political implication no t only for the ANC but also for the Alliance and our fledging democracy.