Sunday, 10 April 2022 14:53

Jacob Zuma to seek further adjournment in the Arms Deal corruption trial.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation has announced that former President Jacob Zuma will seek private prosecution against state prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer in his trial.

In a media briefing held by the Jacob Zuma Foundation on Sunday, spokesperson, Mzwanele Manyi, announced that Zuma will institute private prosecution proceedings against Downer.

"When we do a private prosecution, things will be done properly this time. We are not going to have a situation where we are even struggling to give evidence and all that. We tried the other route and it is not working," he said.

Manyi said Zuma's legal team will request a further adjournment and is also expected to respond to the supplementary affidavit served by the National Prosecuting Authority.

"He said Zuma was applying for a postponement "only because at the present moment, it is very clear that the conditions for a fair trial are non-existent".

Manyi further confirmed that "contrary to speculations", Zuma, who turns 80 next week is expected to make an appearance in person at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday.

Zuma's legal team had also filed his reconsideration application at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein. This after the SCA denied him leave to appeal the dismissal of his special plea.

"All [former] president Zuma really wants is his day in court, in a fair trial and certainly not in a forum which is being rigged by the State in the manner described above, and all the previous unfair and incorrect decisions which will hopefully be corrected by the higher courts, said Manyi."

Zuma's lawyers had also written to prosecutions boss Shamila Batohi to demand that she remove Downer as the lead prosecutor in the corruption case.

Ntanga Nkuhlu Inc Attorneys complained that the prosecutor "has steadfastly failed and/or refused to step down despite numerous requests and demands for him to do so".

Zuma is accused of receiving 791 payments, totalling R4.1-million, between 1995 and 2004 from his former financial adviser/economic adviser Schabir Shaik and Shaik’s companies, to help Thales, accused number two, to secure lucrative defence contracts from the government as part of South Africa’s armaments deal.

Downer was part of the original team that successfully secured Shaik's conviction in 2005. Shaik was released on medical parole in March 2009.

Zuma is facing one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud. Thales is facing one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption and one count of money laundering.

Meanwhile the NPA is unfazed and Its spokesperson, Mthunzi Mhaga, said the NPA still stands by their conviction that Zuma’s case should go ahead and they will fight tooth and nail to thwart attempts to halt it.

"As the prosecuting authority, we are ready to proceed with the trial tomorrow when it resumes. We have always been ready, our witnesses are lined up to testify against the two accused and we will oppose any application for the postponement of the matter, because it is not in the best interests of anyone for the matter to be delayed further.

"With regard to the possible private prosecution of Downer, our lead prosecutor, this we regard as an intimidation and a delaying tactic on the part of "Zuma's lawyers because they know very well that those charges will never be sustained, hence the director of public prosecution in KwaZulu-Natal has declined to prosecute, and the DPP refused to accede to their demand of removal of Downer," Mhaga said on Sunday.