It is unlikely that ruling on Zuma’s special plea will be handed down: Expert

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Legal expert Mkhuseli Vimba says it is unlikely that a ruling on former President Jacob Zuma’s special plea will be handed down on Wednesday.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court is expected to hear the former President’s special plea calling for the recusal of lead State prosecutor, Advocate Billy Downer.

The State will also have the opportunity to respond to the special plea in court.

Vimba says the outcome of this application is likely to delay the start of the trial.

“If he is going to appeal whatever decision that comes out of the Pietermaritzburg High Court then this matter may take almost a year to get to the trial stage, where the facts and the allegations will be ventilated either by the same Advocate Billy Downer or a new prosecutor, who in this case may need more time, as well if Billy Downer is accused in the case to read and prepare for the case because he has been the case for so many years. If it does not get it in his favour in the Pietermaritzburg High Court it’s likely to end up in the Constitutional Court.”


A small group of organisers representing groups supporting Zuma has gathered outside the High Court in Pietermaritzburg ahead of his court appearance on Wednesday.

There were expectations of a night vigil on Tuesday night, but the court precinct has been locked down.

Zuma and his co-accused French arms manufacturer, Thales, will return to court for the long-awaited trial on charges of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering in connection with the controversial 1990s arms deal.

At the last court appearance, suspended ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule called for pro-Zuma supporters to travel in their numbers to Pietermaritzburg.

The Zuma, Thales corruption trial was postponed last week: