20th May, 2019
Former South African President Jacob Zuma was set to appear in court on Monday to argue for a permanent stay of prosecution in his ongoing corruption trial.
Zuma, dubbed the “teflon president’’ because of his ability to weather scandal after scandal, is expected to bring a new legal team with him to argue that the charges against him were politically motivated.
The new legal team will also argue that the charges were cooked up by a faction within the ruling African National Congress (ANC) that supported former President Thabo Mbeki.
The legal team is also expected to argue that Zuma is not getting a free and fair trial and that justice delayed is justice denied, indicating that Zuma should have been charged two decades ago if prosecutors were intent on going after him.
The high court in the eastern town of Pietermaritzburg is hearing arguments in a legal saga that dates back to 1999 over alleged kickbacks in a multibillion-dollar arms deal with a French company, Thales, which Zuma oversaw as vice president.
The court will decide whether the 77-year-old former president should stand trial.
In 2007, Zuma was charged with 16 counts of racketeering, corruption, money laundering and fraud.
The charges, relating to 783 payments in connection with Thales, were dropped before he assumed the presidency in 2009.
After years of legal challenges, the National Prosecuting Authority, in early 2018, served a fresh indictment, deciding Zuma must face trial.
Zuma had been forced to resign as president under intense pressure from his ANC party shortly beforehand.