Johannesburg - NPA head Shaun Abrahams has denied former president Jacob Zuma's request for a stay of his corruption case pending the finalisation of court proceedings regarding payment of his legal fees. Abrahams has written to Zuma's lawyer Michael Hulley denying his request for the case to be placed on ice.
Zuma is facing 16 charges of corruption, racketeering and money laundering and he is expected to make his second appearance on Friday at the Durban High Court. Abrahams told Zuma that issues pertaining to his court case can only be ventilated at the court and he was unable to grant his request to halt the case.
The former president is currently facing uncertainty regarding his legal fees as the DA has approached the courts to try and scrap the 2006 legal agreement between Zuma and the Presidency to fund his legal bills. The deal stated that he would be required to pay back the money if he was to ever be found guilty by the court.
President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed in Parliament that the state had spent R15.3 million on Zuma's legal defence of corruption charges. Ramaphosa said the state was funding his bills because the charges came about while he was already in government.
The DA immediately launched a court application to force Zuma to pay back the R15.3 million and to ensure that the state stops funding his legal bills. The party believes the 2006 agreement was illegal.
Ramaphosa is a respondent in the DA court matter, but the Presidency has filed papers indicating that the president would abide by the decision taken by the court and would not oppose the matter. "The Presidency has indicated that it nevertheless intends to submit an explanatory affidavit to assist the court in understanding the history, legal basis, rationale and processes relating to the provision of this support," said the Presidency.
Meanwhile, members of the National Funeral Practitioners Association of SA, who have professed their loyalty to Zuma, say they are willing to pay his legal bills if he was unable to do so. The group is also gearing up for Zuma's court appearance on Friday and were mobilising supporters of Zuma to hold night vigils and pray for him.