South Africa: There Is a Witch Hunt Against Me, Zuma Tells Supporters Outside Court

Former president Jacob Zuma (file photo).

Former President Jacob Zuma has labelled the corruption trial against him a politically-motivated witch hunt and says his lawyers will show the court how the NPA conspired to prevent him from becoming president.

"Those who were meant to be witnesses have even forgotten their testimony. Some have died," he told supporters in isiZulu outside the Kwazulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

"We are now arguing that if this trial continues, it's just a witch hunt. We can't have a trial based on this. We argue this trial is not fresh and witnesses have died and the presiding judges have retired."

Speaking to an eager crowd after a full day in court, Zuma addressed hundreds in Freedom Park opposite the court.

He said his rights had been "trampled" on and that the case against him was tainted.

"No trial has gone on for this long. I am charged one day and the charges are dropped the next day. It has never happened."

Spy tapes

Zuma said the charges against him were "planned" so that he would be wrapped up in court proceedings.

"They dropped prosecution at first because they never thought they would have a chance to succeed. They imprisoned my friend (Schabir Shaik) to test if a prosecution against me would hold up in court."

Zuma said court proceedings on Monday laid bare the spy tapes.

"Prosecutors and investigators conspired to have me imprisoned so I wouldn't be president. It's clear that my case is two-fold: the law and politics. The lawyers argued, it's not just a case of criminal behaviour, it's a conspiracy."

He said his lawyer argued that the NPA's case was "frivolous".

"My lawyers will tomorrow argue how the NPA broke the law in their ambition to charge me. The Judges themselves are curious. They interrupt arguments because at times they are confused."

I have a 'tough lawyer'

Zuma was adamant that there was no case against him.

"They failed for 15 years to charge me and they can't. It's clear this is politically motivated."

He boasted that he had a "tough lawyer".

"He has argued there are two ways to interpret the law. One is a legal philosophy of the apartheid times. That law tarnished people's rights. The second interpretation is of post-94 where you are guided by the law and you don't trample people's rights."

Zuma is due in court until Thursday as a full bench hears his application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

If Zuma is successful, he will be immune from the charges, which relate to alleged bribes paid to him by French arms company Thales - one of the successful contractors in the multibillion-rand arms deal in the late 1990s.

Thales is Accused Number Two, while Zuma's name tops the charge sheet.

If this week's application is unsuccessful, Thales will face one count of money laundering, two counts of corruption and one count of racketeering.

The case continues on Tuesday.

Source: News24

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