Africa | ‘We have been ready for 14 years’ – Zuma’s lawyer as they plan appeal bid

Former president Jacob Zuma has, once again, bought himself some time after indicating that he intends to file an application for leave to appeal the dismissal of his permanent stay of prosecution bid.

Zuma briefly appeared in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday for the continuation of his fraud and corruption trial.

The former president’s advocate, Thabani Masuku SC, said that while Zuma waited for 14 years for his day in court, he would still seek other legal avenues, as was his right.

“We have been ready for 14 years. Mr Zuma would, however, like to exercise his right to appeal the permanent stay of prosecution decision,” he said.

On Friday, the High Court dismissed the stay of prosecution application which Zuma and co-accused, French arms company Thales, had lodged.

Zuma has until November 1 to file papers in the leave to appeal application.

That application will be heard on November 22 and the criminal trial will return on February 4, 2020, for pre-trial proceedings.

Senior State advocate Billy Downer said the state would oppose the leave to appeal application.

‘We remain ready’

He said Zuma’s co-accused Thales would have to have a representative present during the pre-trial proceedings.

Downer said an updated forensic report has been handed to all the parties.

An upbeat Downer declared: “We remain ready.”

Advocate Anton Katz, who is representing Thales, said they were not opposed to the pre-trial conference date.

Zuma is expected to be tried on charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering.

The case involves 783 questionable payments Zuma allegedly received from the company in connection with the arms deal.

Former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shaun Abrahams announced in March 2018 that the NPA would go ahead with the prosecution of Zuma, nine years after the charges were dropped.

The NPA argued that Zuma’s legal teams had employed every conceivable trick in the book to delay the matter, News24 previously reported.

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