The National Prosecution Authority in KwaZulu-Natal has confirmed that former president Jacob Zuma has filed an application seeking a permanent stay of prosecution in his corruption trial.
The NPA’s Natasha Karra confirmed to the media that “this is a high profile matter, and cannot divulge yet what is in the affidavit, but can confirm that the former president’s legal team has filed an application”.
“The matter will continue at the high court sitting in Pietermaritzburg on the 30th of November,” she added.
On this application, Zuma seeks the court to rule on halting criminal procedure, faltering further legal process in his trial. The court can subsequently lift the stay and resume proceedings based on events taking place after the stay is ordered.
The former president is expected to have followed French company Thales’ application in arguing that the 17-year-old case was old, and that his trial has been delayed for too long, which may lead to him being treated unfairly, thus asking the NPA to review its decision to prosecute.
Zuma’s lawyers were given until Friday to submit the application to bring to a halt his corruption trial that has already faced numerous postponements.
The former president is facing 16 charges of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering, linked to 783 payments that Thales allegedly made to the former president in connection with the arms deal.
On Thursday, Thales filed its application in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court to have the prosecution permanently set aside
“Thales submits that a permanent stay of prosecution against it constitutes just and equitable constitutional relief in the circumstances,” according to court papers.
“In this application Thales’ cause of action is the violation of its right to a fair trial on the basis of both its right to have any trial against it begun and concluded without unreasonable delay and its right to adduce and challenge evidence,” reads the application.
According to Thales they are challenging the validity of the prosecution and the unreasonable delay in the prosecution.
During Zuma’s previous appearance on July 27, the former president’s legal team, which was newly appointed, submitted that they needed time to understand the case. — News 24