Jacob Zuma Foundation contests virtual hearing, wants Zuma in court
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Durban - The Jacob Zuma Foundation has objected to having Advocate Billy Downer SC’s recusal hearing argued via virtual platforms, saying this violates the criminal procedure act (CPA) and the Constitution.
Instead, the foundation wants the case to be heard with all the parties present in court. This would require jailed former president Jacob Zuma to be released from his Estcourt prison cell and driven to the Pietermaritzburg High Court to attend the hearing.
Its stance follows a communique on Friday advising the media and other parties that the matter would be heard virtually.
The application to be heard on Monday is part of the ongoing Zuma corruption trial emanating from the arms deal procurement between 1998 and 1999 where the former head of state is facing 18 charges. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
In the application, Zuma argues that Downer cannot lead his prosecution as he has proven to be a tainted figure who has allowed politics to influence him and who had allegedly shared information with US spies from the CIA.
Downer has denied all accusations.
If granted his wish, Zuma wants the NPA to eventually stop his prosecution and the matter to be thrown out of court as he would not be fairly tried.
Regarding the virtual hearing on Monday which means no parties would be physically present in court, the foundation said the case should be shelved if the situation does not allow for a physical hearing.
“The Foundation is concerned that the directions issued by the Court in PMB to hear the matter virtually are not consistent with provisions of both the CPA and the Constitution as set out below. The matter must be heard physically on the 19th or later when the country is calmer,” the Foundation said on Twitter late on Saturday.
The foundation even quoted some sections of the CPA which says all cases, unless otherwise, should be heard with all accused in court.
Spokesperson of the foundation Mzwanele Manyi said Zuma's lawyers would legally challenge the directive to have the matter heard via virtual platforms.
He added that they want Zuma to be driven from his Estcourt prison cell to Pietermaritzburg to be present in court when the application is argued on Monday.
“Yes, it's a criminal case. Both the constitution and even Criminal Procedure Act direct so,” Manyi told Independent Media on Sunday.