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Clock is ticking for Zuma to file appeal papers

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The former president's legal team has until Friday to file the appeal papers.

Former president Jacob Zuma and his lawyer Daniel Mantsha. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban – The clock is ticking for former President Jacob Zuma to file his appeal papers against a high court ruling dismissing his application to have his corruption, fraud and money laundering charges permanently squashed. 

Zuma’s three-person legal team of Advocate Dan Mantsha, Advocate Thobani Masuku SC (senior counsel) and Mpilo Sikhakhane has to file the appeal papers by Friday, November 1, 2019 to allow the appeal to be heard on November 22. 

The team was mum when asked whether it would meet the deadline and what new arguments it would advance before the Pietermaritzburg High Court in a bid to get a nod for the appeal to be heard by the Supreme Court of Appeal. 

The legal team would be fighting to overturn an October 11 2019 ruling which ruled that Zuma should face trial for his alleged in the 1999 R30 billion arms acquisition by the government. In that case, it was alleged he received kickbacks from co-accused French arms company Thales. 

The company allegedly paid him R500 000 which was moved via companies owned by Schabir Shaik. Shaik was convicted in 2005 for those offences.  

Arguing before the Pietermaritzburg High Court on October 15, one of Zuma’s lead lawyers Advocate Masuku SC, said the legal team was ready to proceed with the case but would still like to exercise the right to appeal. 

Appearing for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Advocate Billy Downer indicated that they would oppose the appeal as they want the prosecution to start immediately.  

Speaking to Independent Media two weeks ago, constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos said Zuma’s prospects of success were very slim as most of the arguments that he has previously advanced in his court battles have already been dismissed. 

This is despite Zuma’s optimism to his supporters that a higher court can reach a different decision. 

Political Bureau