Former president Jacob Zuma Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

Pietermaritzburg - Both former president Jacob Zuma’s criminal case and his application for the permanent stay of prosecution have been postponed to May 20 next year.

Granting the order in Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday morning, Judge Isaac Madondo said Zuma and French arms company Thales lawyers should before the set date exchange papers that are relevant for their argument.

“Nxamalala you are warned to appear in this court on 20 May,” Madondo said before leaving the court.

Former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo had during an interview with Independent Media before court proceedings expressed support for Zuma’s attempt to obtain a permanent stay of prosecution, saying that it was unfair to prosecute someone who had suffered while fighting for the country’s liberation.

Mahumapelo was among few tripartite alliance leaders who were at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday morning to support Zuma who is facing charges of corruption and fraud in relation to the arms deal.

“Politically speaking it would be incorrect to continue prosecuting president Zuma after so many years, we should be closing that chapter or opening a new chapter as a country to focus our energy on more positive things that can build our nation.

“Zuma has done so much to contribute to the liberation of this country,” said Mahumapelo.

“You cannot after so many years still persecute through prosecution a person who absolutely so far all indications are that he has done nothing,”

He said post-liberation Zuma had always been facing witch hunt anti-liberation struggle forces who had been using party members in ongoing attempts to eliminate him from the ANC.

“Those forces that operated before liberation are still with us, working very hard to make sure that people like him are removed from the space of politics,” he said.

He said there were some ANC leaders who had “co-opted these forces”.

He said there was no question that he himself was also the target of anti-Zuma forces.

“On the 10th of December, I am appearing in court because somebody who is the councillor in Mafikeng had been paid to make sure that I am eliminated. So all of us to are seen to be making sure that we fight to defeat injustice that is imposed on our leaders like president Zuma we are being targeted. 

In court, Mahumapelo sat with other Zuma die-hard supporters such MKVA leader Carl Niehaus, former Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini and former communications minister Faith Muthambi.

ANC leaders from KwaZulu-Natal who were in court are Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane, PEC member Super Zuma, provincial parliament deputy speaker Michael Radebe and ANC provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli.   

They all stood up as Zuma walked into the court to sit in the dock.

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