Lawyers for South Africa's Zuma tell court he is being treated unfairly

22 Mai, 2019, 17:00 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • FILE Jacob Zuma at the Durban High Court on 8 June 2018

Former South African President Jacob Zuma was set to appear in court on Monday to argue for a permanent stay of prosecution in his ongoing corruption trial.

Musi Sikhakhane told the High Court in the eastern city of Pietermaritzburg on Monday that former chief prosecutor Bulelani Ngcuka was an ally of Thabo Mbeki, who ruled from 1999 until 2008 and sought to block Zuma from succeeding him as leader of the ruling African National Congress and the country.

Sikhakhane, representing Zuma, blamed the delay in prosecution on the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

In 2005, Sabir Shaik, a South African businessman who was Jacob Zuma's financial advisor during his trial, was sentenced to 15 years in prison over the deal.

The court is hearing the opening statements from Jacob Zuma's legal team which is led by Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane.

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Zuma has applied for a permanent stay of prosecution from 16 charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering relating to a deal to buy 30 billion rand of European military hardware for South Africa's armed forces in the late 1990s.

But his lawyers say the former President is now so unpopular, he's being treated unfairly by prosecutors, describing the case against him as driven by bias and mob justice.

"As a human being, I realised that, as we sit in the Rosebank coffee shops and white leafy suburbs and discuss Mr Zuma to impress our firends. we have never asked, what do we know about what he has done?"

"Zuma was denied the opportunity to challenge evidence that implicated and prejudiced him", the lawyer added.

The company argues that the re-introduction of the charges "holds no validity" because the charges were originally struck down in 2009, shortly before Zuma became president. A representative for the French arms dealer Thales SA is facing charges that are similar to Zuma's. His son Duduzane, who faces culpable homicide charges, and a few of his supporters including a former cabinet minister travelled to Pietermaritzburg to support their former patron.

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