Durban – As expected, the legal team for former president Jacob Zuma on Monday argued that the graft case against its client should be struck off the roll because of political interference and an unreasonable delay in prosecution.
Senior defence counsel, advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, told a full bench of judges at the Pietermaritzburg High Court that Zuma’s former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, was pursued by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in order to test the waters for a case against “the big fish”, meaning Zuma.
He called Shaik’s trial “a dry run” in getting a successful prosecution against Zuma.
“When [the NPA under Bulelani Ngcuka] decided they would try Mr. Shaik and hold on to Zuma’s case, it was because they wanted a guarantee, they wanted a conviction [of Zuma]. A lot happened in Shaik’s trail.... Zuma was the big fish that was wanted,” he said. This was when the delay into prosecuting Zuma started, said Sikhakhane.
Zuma should have been charged "without delay" alongside Shaik as the NPA had announced at the time that there was a prima facie case against Zuma, said Sikhakhane.