Zuma charges: State intends calling 218 witnesses

The state has identified a list of 218 witnesses it intends calling to testify in its case against African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma.

Attached to the indictment, filed in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, the list of witnesses includes Independent Democrat party leader Patricia de Lille, former judge Willem Heath and former ANC MP Andrew Feinstein.

The indictment was filed on Friday, shortly after midday, as Zuma was about to hand out presents to children in his home district of Nkandla.

Zuma faces 16 charges in total — one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud.

The two South African subsidiaries of Thales International (formerly Thomson-CFS) — Thint Holding (Southern Africa) and Thint — each face a charge of racketeering, and two counts of corruption.

De Lille was the initial whistle-blower on corruption in the R30-billion arms deal, which has seen Zuma’s former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, convicted of fraud and corruption.

Nelson Mandela’s former attorney, Ismail Ayob, is on the witness list, as are numerous people who were on the state’s list of witnesses for the trail of Shaik.

Another notable name is that of Richard Young, the Cape Town businessman whose company, CCII systems, lost out on a bid to supply combat technology for the navy’s new corvettes to African Defence Systems — a company in which both Shaik and Thint had stakes.

The leader of the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) KwaZulu-Natal caucus, Roger Burrows, and the DA’s former finance spokesperson, Raenette Taljaard, are on the list. Taljaard is currently the director of the Helen Suzman Foundation.

The former chairperson of Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa), Gavin Woods, is on the list of witnesses. Woods resigned in February 2002 in protest at the alleged interference in Scopa’s work, by among others, Zuma, several Cabinet ministers, former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni and National Assembly speaker Dr Frene Ginwala.

Feinstein and Taljaard were also members of Scopa prior to Woods quitting.

The three secretaries who were crucial in implicating Shaik are also on the witness list against Zuma. Shaik’s former personal assistant, Bianca Singh, as well as the two secretaries of former Thint boss Alain Thetard — Susan Delique and Marion Marais — are expected to testify.

It was Delique who typed out the note that would later become the so-called ”encrypted fax”, which allegedly records a bribe of R500 000 per annum for Zuma from Thomson CSF.

In her testimony at the start of the Shaik trial, Delique said Thetard had told her to type up the agreement and fax it in encrypted form to France.

Durban business tycoon Vivian Reddy is also on the list. During Shaik’s trial, it emerged that Reddy had come to Zuma’s assistance when he incurred a debt of more than R1-million on his Nkandla traditional village development.

The testimony of forensic auditor Johan van der Walt revealed at the time that Reddy had helped Zuma to obtain a R900 000 bond.

Reddy then signed surety for part of it and then made the monthly R12 000 bond repayment until March 2004.

Van der Walt, a forensic auditor with KPMG, whose testimony was crucial during the Shaik trial, is again on the state’s witness list for Zuma’s trial. — Sapa

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