Pietermaritzburg - Former president Jacob Zuma is on Monday mounting a legal battle in the high court where he wants to have the corruption charges against him quashed, arguing that the delays have effectively prejudiced him.
The application will be heard by three judges; Judge Jerome Mnguni, Judge Jan Steyn and Judge Thoba Poyo-Dlwati, and the matter will be argued over four days.
This follows the removal of Judge Mjabuliseni Madondo.
Spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Justice, Nathi Mncube, said on Sunday in terms of case flow management principles that are applied in all divisions of the high court, a judge who case manages a matter rarely presides over the same matter, hence Judge Madondo could not hear the matter as he was hearing the corruption case itself.
In his bid, which will be led by Muzi Sikhakhane, SC, Zuma will be joined by French arms manufacturer Thales, and they are both arguing that the delays in the case mean that they cannot have a fair trial.
Zuma also argues that there has been political interference in the case.
In the corruption case faced by the two, Thales is accused of bribing Zuma through his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, who was convicted for corruption in 2005.
Unlike during his previous court appearances, this time around supporters of Zuma did not hold a night vigil.
The organiser of Support for Zuma, Bishop Vusi Dube, an incoming ANC member of the provincial legislature, said they would have a march before the proceedings start this morning.
“We will march from Dales Park to Freedom Park and camp there for the whole day while proceedings are going on. We expect Zuma to come to address us during the lunch break at around 1pm and give us an update of what has happened in court,” Dube told Independent Media.
The march and the show of support outside court will be monitored by a joint security team comprising the police and Msunduzi traffic police and security personnel.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said motorists should use alternative routes, as the ones near the court precinct would be clogged.
“As we always do when there is a high-profile case, we deploy our officers to ensure there is order and no criminality takes place,” Mbhele said.
While Zuma supporters are expected to come out in their numbers, the spokesperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, said senior ANC members in the province would go in their personal capacities as the national executive committee had decreed that ANC members may not support Zuma as a party.
“Those who go will be there in their personal capacity,” she said.
One prominent member of the ANC who has confirmed that he will be in court to support Zuma was Super Zuma, the former provincial secretary.
He said he would be there because they were all from the Zuma clan.
“Definitely I will be there,” Zuma said when asked whether he would attend.
Thales spokesperson Cédric Leurquin said the delays were not caused by the company, and it believed it would not get a fair trial.
“Bearing in mind the very long delay of this procedure - through no fault of Thales at all - together with a range of factors beyond its control, Thales believes it cannot obtain a fair trial, as it is entitled to under the South African Constitution and international law.
“Thales reiterates that it has no knowledge of any transgressions having been committed by any of its employees in relation to the awarding of the contract for the combat systems for South Africa’s corvettes (the Arms Deal in 1999),” Leurquin said.