Former President Jacob Zuma appeared at the Pietermaritzburg High Court. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Durban - Jacob Zuma's legal representative says his client has been ready to defend himself from corruption, fraud and money laundering allegations levelled against him for 14 years. However, Advocate Thabani Masuku SC says the former president first wants to exercise his constitutional right to appeal last week's High Court ruling against him.

Zuma appeared at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday, but it it was over within minutes when Advocate Billy Downer SC (Senior Counsel) indicated to Judge Bolton who was hearing the matter, that the legal team of the ex-president wants time to appeal the ruling by a full bench of the same court denying Zuma's request for a permanent stay of prosecution against him.

Downer indicated that they would oppose the appeal and the judge warned him not to prejudge how the appeal would unfold.

Zuma is facing a litany of corruption, fraud and money laundering charges emanating from the 1999 arms deal worth R30 billion. It is alleged that he received bribes from Thales through his former financial adviser, convicted Durban fraudster Schabir Shaik.

Shaik was released on medical parole in 2009 after serving a mere two years and four months of his 15 year sentence after he was convicted of corruption in 2005.

Advocate Masuku said the Zuma camp was elated that the State is finally ready to proceed with the case, but felt that that the court had  ignored Zuma's plea that the case against him has been tainted by political interference and delays. 

There was no indication whether Thales, the French arms company which is the second accused in the, would join Zuma's appeal bid. The company's legal representative, Advocate Anton Katz, said he was yet to receive an instruction from his client to do so. 

As a result of this, it was then agreed that Zuma's team would file its appeal by November 1, 2019 and the appeal would be argued on November 22, 2019.

Furthermore, February 4, 2020 was also reserved as holding date of trying the ex-leader of the country if the appeal fails or somehow, they decide not to file before the November 1, 2019 deadline as required by the law.

Political Bureau