Zuma loses Supreme Court Appeal petition against prosecution

Former president Jacob Zuma during his second day of testimony at the State Capture commission in Parktown, 16 July 2019. Picture Neil McCartney

The former president appears destined for his day in court, though recently did not appear for trial due to illness.

Former president Jacob Zuma’s bid to prevent going to trial for corruption has suffered another legal setback on Friday after the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruled that he has no reasonable prospects of success.

He can presumably still petition the Constitutional Court.

Zuma’s legal team files his papers at the SCA late last year to petition the court for the right to appeal against a decision preventing him from enjoying a permanent stay of prosecution on corruption charges in the multibillion-rand arms deal.

Zuma was at the SCA after the Pietermaritzburg High Court refused his application for a permanent stay of his corruption prosecution.

In November, Zuma’s application for leave to appeal the judgment that his corruption prosecution should go ahead was dismissed with costs by the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Three judges found that there was no compelling reason why Zuma should be granted leave to appeal the dismissal of his bid for a permanent stay of prosecution.

“It is in the interest of justice and bringing the matter to finality that no appeal should ensue,” read the ruling from Judges Jerome Mnguni, Esther Steyn and Thoba Poyo-Dlwati, which the SCA has concurred with.

The core of Zuma’s application for a permanent stay of prosecution was his long-time allegation that, due to an unreasonable delay in the commencement of the proceedings, it won’t be possible to receive a fair trial.

Speaking on the delays in the trial, the judgment said another court would not find differently if all factors were considered.

It said Zuma’s submission, that the judges had overemphasised the seriousness of his alleged crimes, had no merit.

Zuma was handed a costs order at the time because his gripe was also not legitimate, added the judgment.

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