Zuma trial deferred to May 2019

JOHANNESBURG. – Criminal proceedings in the corruption trial of former President Jacob Zuma will next be heard in May 2019, the High Court in Pietermaritzburg has heard.

During a brief sitting on Friday, Judge Mjabuliseni Madondo ordered that the permanent stay of prosecution arguments, together with criminal proceedings be heard next year.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and Zuma’s defence agreed that they would return on May 20, 2019.

Before that, both parties would have to submit papers beginning with Zuma having to file his heads of argument by April 18.

The State would have to do the same by May 10.

During proceedings, Zuma’s lawyer Michael Hellens’s sped up proceedings because Zuma was apparently unwell.

Electricity was also cut off shortly before proceedings concluded.

Zuma has filed a 300-page affidavit asking for a permanent stay of prosecution. He claims to be a victim of an orchestrated attempt by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to align him to corruption.

Thales, the arms company implicated with Zuma, also filed its application in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court to have the prosecution permanently set aside.

It claimed to be denied a fair trial because of unreasonable delays and its right to present and challenge evidence.

Last year, Zuma made presentations to then NDPP Shaun Abrahams about why he shouldn’t be prosecuted. Abrahams decided to prosecute anyway.

The embattled former president faces serious charges including one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering, and 12 counts of fraud relating to 783 payments he allegedly received in connection with the controversial arms deal.

The charges relate to the arms deal, formally known as the Strategic Defence Procurement Package. It was a multibillion-rand military acquisition project finalised in 1999. – News24