Zuma, Thales corruption case back in court

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Indications are that the former president Jacob Zuma’s court case will be a low-key affair on Tuesday.

The High Court in Pietermaritzburg will sit today to consider remaining pre-trial matters.

The case against Zuma and French arms company, Thales, is linked to the country’s 1999 multi-billion rand arms deal.

A dispute over the trial ensued over the weekend, with the Jacob Zuma Foundation accusing the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of delaying the start of the trial.

The foundation was upset after the prosecuting authority indicated that it prefers May 17 as a trial date.

However, the NPA has rejected the claims,  saying it was disingenuous to pretend that the trial was set down for February 23.

According to the NPA, Tuesday’s court appearance will allow all parties to discuss and finalise outstanding pre-trial matters as well set a trial date.

In a statement, NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema, says the state and Thales have suggested that the trial date be set for May 17 but the judge will have a final say on the trial date.

Zuma corruption case back in court:

Reasons for postponements

The matter had previously been postponed mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pending applications by the accused. These included Thales’s application for a review of the racketeering charge and the company’s request for further particulars on the charges.

In October, Thales had brought an application challenging the racketeering charge against them. However, the company’s application was dismissed last month. The company decided that it will not appeal the judgement.

In January, Thales application to challenge racketeering charges was dismissed:

Zuma’s charges

Zuma is facing 16 charges, which include 783 payments Thales allegedly made to him.

Zuma’s convicted former financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, allegedly solicited bribes on behalf of Zuma from Thint, as Thales was known at the time.

Below is a report on the postponement of the trial to February 23, 2021: