The National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa (NPA) says its first witness, Minister Patricia De Lille, is ready to take the stand in the corruption trial of former President Jacob Zuma which is expected to start in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday.
De Lille was a whistle-blower in the alleged corruption that unfolded in the multibillion-rand 1999 arms deal and had back then called for parliament to investigate her claims.
Zuma and French arms company, Thales, are facing corruption, racketeering and money laundering charges.
The Pietermaritzburg High Court declared the case trial-ready in February and set May 17, 2021, as the trial date.
NPA Sipho Ngwema says there could be delays in the trial.
“One of the legal team has withdrawn and therefore they need to explain to court why they are withdrawing and the court has to be satisfied in terms of the reasons given the fact that it is too late at this stage and they have agreed the last time that there were no issues and today was supposed to be a trial date. The onus is on the defence side. They have always been looking forward to this date to defend themselves on the allegations so therefore they have to explain to the court why that happened and what are the implications of that,” says Ngwema.
Ngwema says the State is ready to call its first witness to the stand.
“The State is more than ready; we have been preparing our witnesses. Since last time this matter was in court we agreed that today is the start of the trial. All the hindrance we removed, so Minister De Llile to give her evidence is here in court. We are ready to put her on the dock, we want the trial to start, we want justice to be done and we want it now,” added Ngwema.
Former President Jacob Zuma’s corruption trial set to start on Monday