The Pietermaritzburg High Court has postponed the corruption case against former President Jacob Zuma and French arms company Thales to September 8.

State prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer has told the Pietermaritzburg High Court that preparations for former President Jacob Zuma’s corruption trial have been hampered by the outbreak of COVID-19 that hit South Africa in March.

Downer says COVID-19 had a marked effect on the State’s preparations for the trial.

Zuma faces 16 charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering that is linked to South Africa’s 1999 multi-billion rand Arms Deal.

Zuma’s co-accused, French company Thales, is facing 2 charges.

Thales has requested all documents and hard drives that have been seized in the investigation of the case.

Zuma’s legal team also requested further details last week.

Downer says the earliest realistic date for a pre-trial hearing would be in October.

“The point is that only now in June 2020 we are entering into the preliminary stages of a big High Court commercial matter. Normally, if this was the first appearance for a big High Court matter and we entered into this matter it would be very unusual that the trial will be set for October. With this number of witnesses, the complexity of the case with the international flavour exchange documents etc. So to expect that in this case, October is a reasonable date when we know that the certification process is not yet completed and it’s uncertain it just doesn’t make sense,” explains Downer.

The video below is the court proceeding for today’s appearance:

Zuma’s warrant of arrest

Judge Dhaya Pillay has cancelled a warrant for Zuma’s arrest that was issued when he failed to appear in court on February 4.

The warrant of arrest has been stayed until today.

At the time, the judge was not satisfied with the sick note that was handed up in court.

The state did not challenge the document that defence Advocate Muzi Sikhakane handed up to court on Tuesday morning.