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Jacob Zuma’s corruption trial hearing likely to spill over into next year

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Theo Jeptha/African News Agency (ANA)

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Theo Jeptha/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 17, 2022


Tshwarelo Hunter Mogakane

Pretoria - - The corruption, money laundering and racketeering case against former president Jacob Zuma is likely to spill over into 2023.

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This was revealed in the Pietermaritzburg High Court when the case resumed on a holding date pending an application for reconsideration in the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Judge Piet Koen expressed his displeasure after learning from Prosecutor Billy Downer that the office of Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Mandisa Maya, who is the only one that can handle the unique application before her, had yet to receive the papers pertaining to the case.

“I checked with the registrar of the SCA twice and it is confirmed that there is no result yet from the SCA,” Downer informed the court.

Justice Koen said such matters were often dealt with quickly.

“I was informed that the application was still on its way to the Judge President. The reason for the delay is unclear to me, but it is not our mandate to interrogate that. The papers have been received and they are on their way to the president. In your lordship’s order of last month, if the reconsideration application is not disposed of by the holding date, which is today, which we are here now, a new date must be determined,” stated Downer.

Koen said the case was also prejudicial to co-accused French company, Thales, which has been ready for trial from the onset.

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“We have got this reconsideration at the moment. Obviously if it’s granted we are in the Supreme Court of Appeal. If it is refused, again there will be an appeal in the Constitutional Court. It has been said that such an application will follow. This will require a new holding date,” said Judge Koen.

“I’m also concerned about delays, not just in the case of demonstration of justice but also in terms of the accused, particularly accused number two (Thales). It seems to me that now, in terms of the application for reconsideration, the case is suspended; I don’t have discretion in this matter. All we can do is sit out this further process of further appeals or further applications along the path of appeals. I cant’ affect that in any way,” said Justice Koen.

The court learned that the leader in the defence, Advocate Dali Mpofu, was not in court.

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He sent a message requesting that a proposal to shift the case to August 15 be moved as he would not make it, proposing that the new date be August 22.

Judge Koen was not pleased with the request but stated that should Zuma’s application be thrown out of Judge Maya’s office, there will be a possible series of applications including to the Constitutional Court.

He instead postponed the matter to August 1.

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“The adjournment is granted that if the application has been determined by the August 1 , and no application for leave of appeal to the Constitutional Court has been launched, the trial shall resume at 10am on August 15, and shall thereafter continue until September 16, and again from November 7 to December 2. If the trial is not ready to proceed by the holding date August 1, then a further holding date and date for the continuation of the trial shall be determined,” Justice Koen said.

Koen added that should there be difficulty with the proposed dates, and the trial falls into the second term of 2023, counsel for the accused should alert him.

Pretoria News