Former President Jacob Zuma. File picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA).

Pietermaritzburg - Former president Jacob Zuma will on Friday morning return to the Pietermaritzburg High Court to try to convince judges to grant him permission to appeal an adverse ruling with a law expert saying he is not likely to win.

On October 11, the court's full bench quashed Zuma’s application for a permanent stay of prosecution where he wanted the corruption, fraud and money laundering charges against him quashed.  

The charges emanate from the 1999 multi-billion arms deal where he stands accused of pocketing bribes from French arms firm Thales, which were channeled them via convicted Schabir Shaik.

Weighing Zuma’s chances of success, Lawson Naidoo, the executive secretary of the Council of the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) said there are no prospects for Zuma to succeed as most of the arguments he would be advancing have already been quashed before. 

"The courts I think have made it clear that any arguments he wishes to raise can be raised during the course of the trial... I think he is trying to delay the process once again which is a strategy that he has used successfully over many years but I think it's not going to work this time," Naidoo said.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was mum on who will lead its legal team while Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane SC (senior) confirmed that he would be leading Zuma’s legal team and would be assisted by Advocate Thabani Masuku SC (senior counsel) and Advocate Dan Mantsha. 

The legal trio would also work overtime to avoid a financial penalty the NPA wants to be imposed on Zuma for using a language it deemed disrespectful to judges.

In court papers filed on Monday the NPA insisted that the Zuma should not be granted the permission to appeal the ruling as there was no way a higher court, the Supreme Court of Appeal, would reach a different verdict. As part of its submission, the NPA said it was at a loss to understand why Zuma in his papers said the court misfocused and eventually assisted the NPA to trample on his rights. 

“There is no basis for Mr Zuma’s scurrilous allegations that this court adopted a sanitised version of the facts biased against him and aimed at assisting the NPA,” the NPA argues and later shredded Zuma argument that the hearing was not supposed to be heard by a full bench. 

Zuma returns to court arguing that by allocating a full bench to hear his dismissed application, the court violated some sections of the Criminal Procedure Act. 

“The full bench of the high court has no jurisdiction to conduct a criminal trial including interlocutory application brought before a criminal court to determine whether there is a legal or factual basis on which the prosecution of the accused before that criminal court should be permanently stayed. 

"As such the hearing of this criminal trial in the civil court constitutes an irregularity,” Zuma said in court papers filed on November 1 this year and which irked the NPA.

Political Bureau