Jacob Zuma corruption trial back in court

By Sihle Mavuso Time of article published Dec 8, 2020

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Durban - Irked by another postponement of the corruption, fraud and money laundering case of former president Jacob Zuma, his backers want the case to be struck off the roll until all legal hurdles have been resolved.

The supporters were reacting to on Sunday's confirmation by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) that the highly publicised trial would be postponed in absentia after all parties involved mutually agreed that there is no need for them to be present at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday.

This postponement was made necessary by the fact that the same high court is yet to rule on the application brought by Thales to compel the NPA to drop the racketeering charges it brought against it as Zuma's co-accused in the matter. Thales argues that it was not part of the racketeering enterprise as the NPA alleges in the charge sheet.

In the case, Zuma stands accused of pocketing bribes during the 1998-1999 procurement of arms. He denies the charges against him, saying they are politically motivated. The bribes, including a R500 000 annual retainer, were allegedly paid by his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, and they came from Thales, a French arms company that won some tenders to supply arms during the procurement.

The chairperson of the Radical Economic Transformation Champions in KZN, Nkosentsha Shezi, a long-time backer of Zuma, said they fully agreed with those who say the case should be struck off the roll until the NPA's house is in order.

“Very simple, this case should be struck off the roll until the Thales case is resolved. By the way, we have always believed that this case is politically motivated and the State has no winnable case against the (former) president. Recently, the former director of the NPA admitted that there was no winnable case against Zuma,” Shezi said.

Carl Niehaus, the spokesperson and member of the national executive committee of the MKMVA (Umkhonto Wesizwe Military Veterans Association) said the call was “sound” but said only Zuma's lawyers could decide.

“The logic of the argument is a sound one but as the MKMVA we have not formally met to discuss that. We have to give Zuma's legal team time to look at that,” he said.

While Zuma's instructing lawyer, advocate Eric Mabuza, did not comment about the latest twist in the case, the spokesperson of the NPA, Bulelwa Makeke, confirmed the uncertified agreement by all parties.

"We are waiting for the draft consent order to be signed by the presiding judge, so it's open ended at the moment," Makeke said.

Political Bureau

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