Advocate Dali Mpofu. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agenc
Advocate Dali Mpofu. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agenc

Advocate Dali Mpofu briefed for Jacob Zuma trial, special plea could be heard in July

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published May 26, 2021

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Durban - President Jacob Zuma will be represented by advocate Dali Mpofu during his corruption trial.

Mpofu confirmed having been briefed to represent Zuma to the court when proceedings began on Wednesday morning at the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Mpofu has represented several other high profile individuals and is representing ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule in his legal battle over his suspension from the ANC.

Last week Zuma was being represented by advocate Thabani Masuku.

Zuma is on trial on 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 company Thales.

The start of Zuma's corruption trial was postponed last week so as to allow for a special plea he wished to submit.

The plea deals with section 106 (4) of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA). Zuma wants the lead prosecutor in the case, Billy Downer, to be removed as the lead prosecutor from the case. Zuma submitted papers last week explaining his plea.

“In the event that my plea to have Mr Downer removed in terms of the criminal procedure act, 51 of 1997, is successful, I am entitled to be acquitted in terms of section 106 (4) of the CPA on the basis that no fair trial may be conducted under the circumstances set out in the plea explanation,” reads part of the leaked affidavit Zuma placed before the court.

Downer explained to Judge Piet Koen that the documentation submitted by Zuma was "voluminous" – over 1000 pages – and the state needs time to deal with issues presented by Zuma's team. Downer could not be involved in drafting a response as he was the subject of the plea, he said to the court.

Downer said the NPA plans to answer the submission on June 2. The applicants, Zuma's legal team, will file heads of argument by July 5 and the NPA by July 12.

An agreement between the parties was that a hearing on the special plea could be heard on July 19.

Zuma is expected to plead “not guilty” to the corruption charges filed against him.

Proceedings continue.

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