Former President Jacob Zuma in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. Jacob Zuma will face trial on corruption charges after a court on Friday dismissed his application to halt the case for good. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency via AP
Pietermaritzburg - Former president Jacob Zuma’s supporters have expressed disappointment at the decision of the Pietermaritzburg High Court to dismiss his application for a permanent stay of prosecution on his arms deal charges.

Judges Bhekisisa Mnguni, Thoba Poyo-Dlwati and Esten Steyn spent less than five minutes delivering the judgment.

It was another blow for Zuma, who is also due to appear before the Zondo Commission into state capture next week.

Unlike his previous court appearances, there were no crowds of his supporters inside and outside the court.

Among the few who were in court on Friday morning were former KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature speaker Meshack Radebe, ANC MPL Bishop Vusi Dube and Black First Land First leader Andile Mngxitama.

Mngxitama said the judgment was expected as “the posture of this court has always been hostile”.

“Unfortunately, our court has always been part of the problem, and we expected the attitude we see today,” said Mngxitama.

Radebe said when he came to the court he already predicted that the judgment would be against Zuma.

“So we are not surprised. But we will always be here for him (Zuma) until he is proven by the court of law, fairly, that he is guilty,” said Radebe.

Dube said he would make sure scores of people would descend on the court next week to support Zuma.

“People are coming to court,” said Dube. He said the judgment was a travesty of justice.

“We still think that there is no justice, and we are disappointed and on Tuesday, we are coming back.”

Reading the judgment, Mnguni said Zuma’s three applications were dismissed with costs.

The judges also dismissed with costs another application by Zuma’s co-accused, French arms company Thales SA, for a stay of prosecution.

In applying for the permanent stay of prosecution, Zuma’s legal team argued that the trial was delayed for 15 years, and that he should have been charged together with his former financial advisor Shabir Shaik, who was convicted of the same offences.

It was reported that Zuma’s lawyer advocate Muzi Sikhakhane used the spy tapes in his argument that the charges were politically motivated, as it was alleged that former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Bulelani Ngcuka and former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy were heard discussing to use the charges to remove Zuma from office.

The judges also ruled in favour of the NPA’s argument that Zuma’s application was “scandalous and/or vexatious”.

Zuma walked out of court with his usual smile and even shared jokes with his legal team and small group of supporters.

DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach said this meant that Zuma would have his day in court.

“We have been at the forefront of the fight to make sure that he is not allowed to escape accountability, despite his best attempts to interfere with the workings of the NPA,” said Breytenbach.

IFP chief whip Narend Singh said this was an opportunity for the new NPA leadership to deal with “politically protected” leaders.

“The former President was shielded of being held accountable during the conviction of Schabir Shaik for the same charges of fraud and corruption.

“Corruption has been the biggest enemy of progress in our country and it is high time that South Africans see those responsible for looting state coffers face the full might of the law,” said Singh.

Politics Bureau