Former president Jacob Zuma will still appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court for his Arms Deal corruption trial on Tuesday 8 September. According to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson in KwaZulu-Natal Natasha Kara, the NPA will issue a statement following the court proceedings.
The definitive answer comes after the Jacob Zuma Foundation lashed out at the NPA on Sunday for its unreadiness regarding the trial.
Zuma and French arms company Thales — a co-accused in the trial — face 12 counts of fraud, four counts of corruption, one count of racketeering and another for money laundering. If found guilty, he could face a maximum of 25 years in prison. It was reported that Thales made an R500 000 bribe to Zuma, seeking protection from the investigation while the underhanded Arms Deal was seen through.
JACOB ZUMA FOUNDATION SLAMS THE NPA FOR ITS UNREADINESS
On Sunday 6 September, the foundation issued out a statement saying that the trial would not take place on Tuesday as originally planned due to the NPA’s unreadiness.
The statement read; “The Jacob Zuma Foundation notes that as a result of the National Prosecuting Authority’s unreadiness to proceed with the trial against president Jacob Zuma, there will be no court appearance on 8 September 2020 in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.”
“The foundation expresses its disappointment with the NPA’s state of unreadiness to proceed with its long-awaited trial against president Zuma”.
The foundation said the NPA together with the media accused Zuma of applying delaying tactics, yet it is the NPA that is not ready to proceed.
“Ordinarily, our courts should remove the matter from the roll until the NPA and Thales have finalised their dispute,” it said.
“Given the antipathy towards president Zuma within our criminal justice system, it is understandable why he may seem reluctant to approach our courts for justice,” it added.
The foundation said Zuma is more than ready for the commencement of the Arms Deal trial.
UBABA DITCHES ZONDO COMMISSION
While Zuma is ready for the Arm’s Deal trial, it appears he’s not ready for the State Capture Inquiry. On 3 September, Zuma’s lawyer Eric Mabuza claimed the former president was too busy to appear before the Zondo Commission. His legal team said he needs to be excused from the State Capture Inquiry due to schedule conflicts with the Arms Deal case. Zuma is also seeking legal advice on the implications of new regulations, with regards to his “further participation” in the Inquiry.
“Jacob Zuma is preparing for his much-anticipated criminal trial, the importance of which cannot be over-emphasized. It is rather unfair to expect him to also consider evidence and affidavits of more than 30 [State Capture Inquiry] witnesses,” said Mabuza.
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