South Africa: Conspiracy Theories Aside, the Case Against Mr Zuma Is Very Strong - State

Former president Jacob Zuma (file photo).

The reason for the decision to prosecute former president Jacob Zuma on charges of racketeering, money laundering, fraud and corruption does not matter, even if it was politically motivated.

This is one of the arguments set to be put to the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg by advocate Wim Trengove SC on Thursday, as he argues against an application by Zuma for a permanent stay of prosecution.

On the other hand, Trengove is expected to point out to the court that the case against Zuma is very strong, and that evidence exists which proves his guilt.

Equally, Zuma has failed to set out the exceptional circumstances he needed to prove to the court why he deserves to be permanently let off the hook.

In the State's heads of argument, which News24 has seen, the application for a stay of prosecution is branded another rung on the ladder of Zuma's Stalingrad defence strategy "which he has implemented and pursued ever since he was indicted on 20 June 2005".

Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane SC on behalf of Zuma argued on Monday the NPA is responsible for the 14-year-long delay in the matter.

But the State has set out in detail how the prosecution could not proceed at various stages due to a raft of litigation, including the DA's ultimately successful bid to have the so-called Spy Tapes released.

But at the heart of the arguments is the charges against Zuma, and the evidence in the State's possession.

"The evidence against Mr Zuma is very strong, as the findings of the Shaik trial court have shown," Trengove is expected to argue.

The Shaik case was subjected to intense scrutiny by the Supreme Court of Appeal and for this reason, the State will argue, the charges will hold water.

Conspiracy theories

The State is also expected to argue that Zuma's application is based on conspiracy theories, insults and accusations that are "without any foundation in fact".

The court will also be asked by the State to strike out parts of Zuma's affidavits, particularly paragraphs relating to advocate Billy Downer, the long-time prosecutor in the case.

Two of these paragraphs read in part: "Downer's hatred of me does not allow him to be objective when viewing my case" and "Downer's tone and submissions in the answering affidavit seem nostalgic about the manner in which apartheid prosecutions authorities dealt with those it [sic] considered guilty or undesirable".

Zuma has argued that the decision to prosecute him is politically motivated, and was only ever brought up to stop him from becoming president.

But, as the State points out in its heads of argument, Zuma has never in court given an explanation over the roughly R1.2-million paid in 229 payments for his benefit by convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik, Zuma's former financial advisor and friend.

Shaik was found guilty in 2005 on charges relating to these payments, which had the intention of "inducing Mr Zuma to use his political influence to benefit Mr Shaik's business interests or of rewarding him for having done so".

This is at the heart of Zuma's case. And the State will argue that because Shaik failed to defend these charges, Zuma will too.

Proceedings are set get underway at 9:30.


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