Judgment in former President Jacob Zuma’s legal team’s application for further postponement of the start of his corruption trial will be delivered on Monday afternoon.
Zuma’s legal team has argued that the Pietermaritzburg High Court should be slow to refuse a postponement application where the constitutional rights are implicated unless the sole purpose is to cause undue delay.
The former President’s petition to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) for leave to appeal the ruling against the recusal of the lead prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer was dismissed earlier.
His legal team has written to the SCA president Mandisa Maya for reconsideration.
Making this application, Zuma’s attorney Advocate Dali Mpofu argues that his client should be allowed to exercise his rights. “So a person, in any event, has a right to exercise their right to access to the court.”
Mpofu further says that in the case before Judge Piet Koen, Zuma has done everything possible to ensure that the case continues.
“This gratuitous insult of ulterior motive, and Stalingrad, and delays and so on, is not borne out by the evidence before your Lordship. I don’t know what happened in other courts, but before this court, My Lord, Mr. Zuma has consistently done everything in his power for this matter to proceed. On the 21st and 22nd of September, while he is entitled to be sitting here when we were doing the section 106 he gave your Lordship permission, he waived his rights; those were the words that were used, he waived his rights to be in court so that the matter might proceed.”
Court proceedings below:
However, the state believes that this is simply another delaying tactic from Zuma’s side. Advocate Downer says Zuma’s application to have the matter postponed has no merit and two SCA judges’ dismissal of the petition for leave to appeal is final.
“We are [in] our heads going on to say that should the application for postponement be granted here in this court under section 168, pending the result of the application to the president and any further leave to the ConCourt, which we’ve discussed, the effect in delaying the trial will be to achieve what this court, the SCA, the legislature and the interest of justice seek to avoid. And that is perhaps our main point, my Lord. It makes this case special, given its background in the delays and the effect of all the countless applications – all of which had been refused.”