21 May 2019

South Africa: Prosecute the Prosecutors! Zuma Puts NPA On Trial

Photo: GCIS
Former president Jacob Zuma (file photo).
analysis

Jacob Zuma's attempt to have corruption charges against him dropped is a tall order, but that doesn't mean he'll go on trial any time soon.

Former president Jacob Zuma stood in the dock at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday for barely a minute. The court agreed to postpone his criminal trial to 15 October 2019 and he returned to sit with his lawyers on the counsel benches.

Zuma is fighting to never return to the dock, at least not on these charges.

The court on Monday began hearing his application for a permanent stay of prosecution, with his lawyers arguing that corruption charges related to the 1999 Arms Deal should be dropped.

Zuma's fate has long been tied to the fortunes or misfortunes of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) -- as president, he appointed three national directors of public prosecutions (NDPPs) -- and on Monday his legal team effectively put the institution on trial.

"The NPA cannot come to this court with dirty hands, with hands dripping of constitutional violations of accused persons and then say, 'We demand to exercise our duty to prosecute,' " said advocate Thabani Masuku SC, for Zuma.

He continued:

"That's classical apartheid prosecution, dangerous...

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