Jacob Zuma Foundation wants corruption trial struck off the roll

Former South African President Jacob Zuma arrives at court in Pietermaritzburg in November 2018. File picture: Rogan Ward/Reuters

Former South African President Jacob Zuma arrives at court in Pietermaritzburg in November 2018. File picture: Rogan Ward/Reuters

Published Feb 22, 2021


Durban - The Jacob G Zuma Foundation has renewed calls that the corruption trial of former president Jacob Zuma be struck off the roll.

The call comes as it claimed that it has learnt that the National Prosecuting Authority wants the arms deal court matter to be postponed to May 17, 2021.

In a statement issued late on Sunday, the Jacob Zuma Foundation said the state had not given any reason for the delay.

In the past, the state cited the Covid-19 lockdown as their reason for seeking a postponement, saying moving and accommodating its over 200 witnesses would be a logistical nightmare.

Zuma is 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 scored tenders to supply arms during the arms procurement process.

Zuma and Thales, were due to return to the Pietermaritzburg High Court to face the music this week.

“This is not the first time such a promise is made. While we as the Foundation doubt the bona fides or readiness of the State to ever run this case, we hope our judiciary will not tolerate any further postponement beyond this date. While these postponements carry on President Zuma’s rights to be continuously violated and the narrative that he is guilty continues as the NPA’s propaganda. This is indeed unfortunate,” the foundation said in the statement.

It added that it was hopeful that the judiciary will not grant any request to postpone the matter any further and renew the calls to have the matter struck off the roll.

“We hope that the judiciary will not tolerate any further abuse of the process. Indeed justice delayed is justice denied and this has been President Zuma’s lived reality and experience of the criminal justice system.

“We will continue to ask the judiciary to strike this case off until the State is really ready rather than to parade President Zuma as a criminal. The taxpayer’s purse is wasted in the process. We thank South African Citizens who continue with an unwavering support to President Zuma and condemn the continued prejudice at the hands of the politicized system.”

Meanwhile, the Zuma camp has said Tuesday’s hearing may be postponed in absentia and the former president may not personally appear in court.

The news that there is uncertainty whether the matter would be heard or not came from Carl Niehaus, the spokesperson of the MKMVA, Umkhonto Wesizwe Military Veterans Association, who is always beside Zuma when he appears in court.

Niehaus told Independent Media on Sunday that their plans on whether they will be in court or not were still on hold as they have heard that there is a possibility that Zuma may not go to court.

“President Zuma may not go to court as we heard that there are plans to postpone the matter with all parties not present in court. However, if he does appear, we will be there to support him like we have always done at all times” Niehaus said.

However, NPA spokesperson in KZN, Natasha Kara, said: “The matter is set down for Tuesday, kindly attend proceedings.”

Political Bureau