South Africa 9.6.2018 06:05 am

‘Back off, I have dirt’ is Zuma’s message to his opponents

Former president Jacob Zuma at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban where he is facing charges of corruption. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla (Netwerk24)

Former president Jacob Zuma at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban where he is facing charges of corruption. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla (Netwerk24)

In court, Zuma remained incredulous about the charges against him, saying he didn’t know what he had done wrong and he hadn’t been involved in the arms deal.

Part of Jacob Zuma’s charm, or shtick if you will, is being the kindly grandfather not really sure what is going on around him – and he played it to the hilt yesterday in front of his adoring supporters.

He told them he wasn’t sure why his case was being moved to Pietermaritzburg on July 27 and that it might be connected to renovations on the Durban High Court building.

But The Citizen was there and can inform the former president that, in fact, that was the only reason.

Zuma also said he was waiting to see how he was involved and didn’t understand how the charges could have been revived after Judge Christopher Nicholson had determined they were politically motivated.

One would have thought his very expensive taxpayer-funded legal team would have explained it was practice in law to challenge judges’ decisions, which happened in this case.

His confusion raised the question of whether he was told his 10-year challenge to keep the charges out of court failed in at least two courts.

Here’s what happened: Thint had submitted its application for a review of the charges, while the former president had not, and state prosecutor Billy Downer requested time to go through the application.

The former president will be appearing alone in the box for now as the representative for Thint, Christine Guerrier, was temporarily excused from proceedings.

One of Zuma’s lawyers, Michael Hulley, noted that he was waiting for the High Court in Pretoria judgment on whether the state would pay the former president’s legal fees.

Zuma remained incredulous about the charges against him, saying he didn’t know what he had done wrong and that he hadn’t been involved in the arms deal as he had been KwaZulu-Natal MEC for tourism at the time.

The racketeering and corruption charges cover 783 alleged payments made to him – and on behalf of him – by Schabir Shaik’s Nkobi Holdings, from the time the former president was KZN MEC for tourism.

Zuma seemed clear enough on one thing, however. He has dirt on his political opponents and if they do not back off he will use it.

Downer stated again in court yesterday he was ready to go to trial.

ALSO READ: Zuma reportedly fires his advocates over payment issues

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