Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA).

Durban - Minutes before the prosecution of former President Jacob Zuma started at the Pietermaritzburg High Court, the legal team of the ex-leader informally indicated to the State it would appeal Friday's ruling that his corruption case must go ahead.

Shortly after arriving at the court on Tuesday morning for the trial which was initially set for three days, Zuma's attorney, Advocate Thobani Masuku SC (Senior Counsel), accompanied by Advocate Mpilo Sikhakhane engaged in a brief discussing with the prosecution team which included Advocate Billy Downer and the legal team representing Thales, which included Advocate Anton Katz. 

Independent Media learnt that Masuku, when asked by the NPA to lay their cards on the table after three days of silence, told the prosecutors that they "will definitely appeal" and they need a bit of time to do so. It is understood that the time they want was to comprehensively go through Friday's ruling and prepare their papers for the appeal.   

At the time of compiling this report, the legal teams of Zuma, Thales and the prosecuting team from the NPA, were locked in a meeting and the hearing was yet to start by 10am on Tuesday.

Speaking to Independent Media on Monday, Professor Pierre de Vos, a constitutional law expert at the University of Cape Town, said Zuma’s chances of success should he decide to appeal, were slim. 

“Mr Zuma’s problem is his arguments in previous cases over the past 15 years the courts have already said those arguments don’t hold water,” De Vos said.  

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.

Political Bureau