The only question confronting the nation after that damning judgment, which implicated a sitting deputy president, was whether the National Prosecuting Authority would charge Jacob Zuma or not. Instead of a straightforward prosecutorial decision, what followed was a political narrative that changed the entire game and resulted in Zuma's day in court being delayed by 13 years (and still counting).
Instead of prosecutors taking their decision based on law and the evidence, decision makers allowed themselves to be entangled in the political noise emanating from the claim that Zuma was a victim of a "political plot" to stop him from becoming president of both the ANC and country.
This narrative contributed much to Zuma's spectacular rise from being the first deputy president to be fired to becoming SA's president.
The same can be said about his rape trial. Zuma was acquitted on the charge that he raped Fezekile Kuzwayo, daughter to one of the late hero of the Struggle, Judson Diza Kuzwayo. But, the issue was turned from a criminal case into a political issue.
Each day Zuma appeared in court, hundreds of supporters would gather outside the building. Most of them never bothered following the evidence; all that mattered was that their hero was a "victim" and not his accuser.
When the court eventually acquitted him, to them it was not a matter of the state failing to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, but vindication of their long-held belief that Kuzwayo had been "bought" to lay "false" charges against Zuma in a "bid" by a faction in the ANC and government to stop him ascending to power. That the court made no such finding didn't bother the multitudes who danced triumphantly up and down the streets of the Johannesburg CBD.