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Jacob Zuma trial returns for dates to be set

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President Jacob Zuma will not attend his corruption trial at the Pietermaritzburg high court on Monday.

File image: President Jacob Zuma. IOL.

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma will not attend his corruption trial at the Pietermaritzburg high court on Monday.

Zuma and his co-accused, French company Thales, face charges related to fraud, corruption and money laundering in connection with the Arms Deal that took place in the 1990s.

On Thursday the Jacob Zuma Foundation confirmed that the former president will not attend his corruption trial.

“The 1 August date was agreed to as an administrative date to evaluate and confirm if the 15 August 2022 would be feasible as a date of trial. So, with the direction of the Court at the last hearing, (Zuma) is not expected to attend,” the foundation said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Zuma filed an application to the Constitutional Court to appeal the dismissal of a special plea. The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed the plea to remove prosecutor advocate Billy Downer from the case. Zuma has accused Downer of being biased.

Judge Piet Koen had said that if the matter is not ready to proceed on Monday, then further dates will be determined.

Previously, Zuma’s lawyer Advocate Dali Mpofu had taken issue with the NPA and the State describing Zuma using “Stalingrad tactics” in efforts to show that he was deliberately trying to delay the case. “The two main issues for the defence are the prospects of success of a postponement and the so-called ‘Stalingrad tactics.

“We ask that you may adjourn the matter to a date to be determined.” Addressing the judge, Mpofu asked that he ‘exercise his discretion(in terms of the application for an adjournment), judiciously and not capriciously’. He said a refusal of a postponement would have an impact on Zuma’s Constitutional rights. “There is nothing expect rumour or speculation that this is a delaying tactic. A party that is suggesting abuse of court has the onus to produce evidence … there is nothing in this particular case. The court will be able to realistically determine that this is not the onus.” He said Zuma is exercising his appeal rights as per the Constitution. Mpofu said to describe his client using ‘Stalingrad tactics was a gratuitous insult and not borne out in evidence before the court’.

“Mr Zuma has done everything possible to be in court. He had previously waived his rights in court so that matter can proceed, today he has done the same thing.” Mpofu said.

Downer in response said that a central frustration in the matter was that ‘we can’t seem to get anywhere’.

“The discretion remains despite what happens in the SCA. How is the court to exercise this discretion.If the application is meritless and without any prospect of success, it is done to delay.

“This was a trial date agreed by all and not based on (Justice Maya’s reconsideration application). Today’s trial date came after two decades of delays.”Is this postponement in the interest of justice or not.”

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