Jacob Zuma back in court next week as corruption trial resumes

Former president Jacob Zuma appears on his first day at the Zondo Commission on 15 July 2019. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency

The NPA had initially postponed the case to 23 June after the former president failed to appear in court earlier this year.

The Office of the Chief Justice has announced that court proceedings involving former president Jacob Zuma and the Thales Group will resume at the Pietermaritzburg High Court next week on 23 June.

The Chief Justice said in a statement on Wednesday: “The matter involving the Thales Group and Jacob Zuma will return to the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 23 June. In adherence to Covid-19 measures, strict social distancing protocols will be observed in the galleries and this will result in a very limited number of seats available for members of the public and media.

“To ensure the safety of all court users, members of the media and public are requested to follow all security procedures as will be communicated by court officials. For those entering the court, mandatory Covid-19 screening will be conducted. Attendees must ensure that they have a face mask on at all times.”

There was a number of delays regarding the case due to the Covid-19 pandemic after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had initially postponed the case to its current date.

Zuma will be forced to appear in court after the Pietermaritzburg High Court issued a warrant in February to arrest the former president for failing to appear in court, but it was stayed until 6 May.

His then lawyer Dan Mantsha had claimed that the former president was genuinely sick and Mantsha submitted a sick note from a military hospital, but Judge Dhaya Pillay questioned this, as the note had allegedly been altered.

Mantsha has since been replaced by well-known lawyer Eric Mabuza, who will represent Zuma in his upcoming trial.

The former president withdrew his Constitutional Court application to have his prosecution stayed for alleged corruption related to the arms deal.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation had criticised the NPA for initially accusing the former president of delay tactics in the corruption trial linked to the multibillion-rand arms deal, only to now request for postponement of court proceedings until 2021.

In a letter from the state to Zuma’s foundation, the foundation highlighted that the state now proposed that the trial be postponed as it needed time to prepare.

READ NEXT: ConCourt dismisses Thales’ bid to stop prosecution in Zuma corruption trial, with costs.

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