Former president Jacob Zuma’s arms deal trial will be postponed in absentia of the accused and all legal counsel, on Tuesday, as agreed upon by the parties involved, said the national prosecuting authority (NPA) in KwaZulu-Natal.
This after the Jacob G Zuma Foundation slammed the NPA for “its unreadiness to proceed with its trial against” Zuma.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the foundation expressed its disappointment at the NPA’s unreadiness, which it said has resulted in the Tuesday court appearance no longer taking place.
Kara, however, said the matter was set down for Tuesday and it would be in court, adding that once the court proceedings had concluded on Tuesday a statement would be issued on what transpired.
Zuma was expected to appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday on charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering linked to the multibillion-rand 1999 arms deal.
His foundation said: “For too long, the NPA together with the media accused president Zuma of applying delaying tactics. Yet, it is the NPA that is not ready to proceed when president Zuma calls upon it to present its case against him.
“The silence of the media in this regard is deafening.
“Not once is the NPA accused of the so-called ‘Stalingrad’ when, after almost two decades of media fanfare that the NPA was ready, it is clear that the NPA is the one not ready.”
The foundation expressed its disappointment “with the manner in which the NPA seems to have its way with our courts” which it said, “seem impotent to reign in the NPA”.
“This is so because there seems to be a different jurispendence applied by our courts when it comes to president Zuma.
“Ordinarily, our courts should remove the matter from the roll until the NPA and Thales have finalised their dispute,” the statement reads.
French arms company Thales is Zuma’s co-accused in the matter.
The foundation said that calling for the matter to be removed from the roll would be a waste of time because the court would never do such out of a concern of perceived as “being soft on Zuma”.
“The foundation calls upon the NPA and our courts to treat president Zuma like any citizen and any litigant.
“The foundation calls upon the NPA to immediately commence with the trial as it always stated that is was ready to try president Zuma.
“No one is accusing the NPA of the ‘Stalingrad’ even as it is clear that their claim that they were ready was obviously false.
“Given the antipathy towards president Zuma within our criminal justice system, it is understandable why he may seem reluctant to approach our courts for justice.”