Politics / 30 November 2019, 10:39am / BONGANI HANS
Pietermaritzburg - The dismissal of former president Jacob Zuma’s application for leave to appeal has left his supporters disappointed and the DA pleased, which says he should now face his day in court.
Delivering the ruling, Judge Bhekisisa Mnguni said the “application is dismissed with costs, this court is adjourned”.
Zuma’s lawyers and those of his co-accused, French arms manufacturing company Thales, were not in court to hear the ruling, but their prosecutor advocate Andrew Breitenbach was. Unlike in many of the court appearances, none of his supporters were in court.
Former ANC secretary in the Moses Mabhida region Mzi Zuma, who was representing the former president’s family, said the ruling was disappointing.
“We are very disappointed although we did not expect anything different from it.
“We are very disappointed with the way the law is applied, especially because it is now clear that Msholozi (Zuma) would never get justice in this case because the allegations emerged 15 years ago,” said Zuma.
Legal expert Mpumelelo Zikalala of Zikalala Attorneys said Zuma still had an option to petition the Supreme Court of Appeal to hear his application for the appeal.
“You can still go to the Supreme Court of Appeal and say to them ‘your fellow judges in the High Court have not allowed me, please look at my papers, if you see that there are merits and prospects of success, please hear my matter.’
“If they are also of the opinion that the chances of appeal are not there, you can still go to the Constitutional Court.
“If the Constitutional Court says no, Zuma and Thales will, unfortunately, have to come back to the High Court to stand trial,” he said.
Zuma’s spokesperson, Vukile Mathabela, said his boss’s lawyers would read the High Court judgment and take a decision.
The DA said by repeatedly appealing Zuma was contradicting his own assertion that he wanted to have his day in court.
“Mr Zuma has done everything in his power to resist being held accountable for the alleged criminal activities in which he was involved during the arms deal.
“The latest attempt was this application for leave to appeal the High Court’s decision not to grant him a stay of prosecution,” said DA justice spokesperson Glynnis Breytenbach.
Zuma is facing 18 charges of fraud, money laundering, corruption and racketeering emanating from a controversial R30 billion arms deal package signed in 1999. He is alleged to have accepted a bribe from Thales, who allegedly wanted protection from being charged.
Zuma’s former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, was convicted for facilitating bribes for Zuma. He has since been released on medical parole.
Judge Mnguni and his two colleagues Judge Thoba Poyo-Dlwati and Judge Esther Steyn last month dismissed Zuma and Thales’s applications for a permanent stay of prosecution.