/ 30 November 2018

Zuma says trial is politically motivated, case postponed until May

Former president Jacob Zuma might not be at the top of the ANC anymore
(Rogan Ward/Reuters)

Former president Jacob Zuma’s bid to have his corruption and racketeering case set aside will be heard in the High Court, Pietermaritzburg, next May.

The application for a permanent stay of prosecution, lodged by Zuma’s legal team two weeks ago, will be argued over three days before KwaZulu-Natal Deputy Judge President Mjabuliseni Madondo.

Zuma claims his trial is politically motivated and that he has been the victim of prosecutorial abuse and a 17-year delay, which will prevent him from getting a fair trial.

The two legal teams will exchange documents in the period between now and May 10 ahead of the application and a similar one by his co-accused, French arms dealer Thint, formerly known as Thales.

Zuma’s brief appearance this morning was used by his counsel Mike Hellens SC and lead prosecutor Billy Downer SC to ask the court to formalise a programme for the exchange of documents.

In terms of the agreement, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will decide by January 9 next year whether it will provide Zuma with documents he had requested ahead of filing the application for the permanent stay. These include a breakdown of the state’s expenses incurred in his prosecution and documents including the Browse Mole intelligence report.

Zuma faces a total of 18 charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering originating from 783 questionable payments he received from his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik. Zuma also allegedly received a bribe from Thint via Shaik, who was convicted of corruption and fraud and sentenced to 15 years in jail for his role in the affair.

The issue of the potential addition of charges to the indictment was also laid to rest in court.

At an earlier hearing, the prosecution had been put on terms over a decision by former National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams to add charges to the indictment in terms of regulations that did not exist.

Downer told the court he had responded to Thint’s counsel, Anton Katz SC, to inform him that no charges would be added. Downer apologised for not informing Hellens, saying he was not aware that he had to.

Hellens said the failure to inform him reflected the ‘’dismissive attitude’’ of the NPA towards Zuma.

Outside court Zuma called on supporters, who had turned out in smaller numbers than usual, to follow his example and campaign and vote for the ANC.

Zuma said that they needed to give the party a two-thirds majority in the May election so that it could implement reform and continue with economic transformation.

READ MORE: ANC to show unity at JZ’s court date

Zuma continued to question his prosecution, asking ‘’what have I done’’ and saying that the truth would come out ‘’eventually.’’

He was accompanied inside court by several of his allies who have been axed from government including Des Van Rooyen, Supra Mahumapelo and Faith Muthambi.