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Now Jacob Zuma wants to cross-examine Billy Downer in l...

South Africa

STALINGRAD TACTICS

Now Jacob Zuma wants to cross-examine Billy Downer in latest move to torpedo Arms Deal trial

Former president Jacob Zuma at the Pietermaritzburg High Court. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24)
By Des Erasmus
10 Jun 2021 28

Former president Jacob Zuma wants the Pietermaritzburg High Court to hold an evidentiary hearing before the start of his Arms Deal trial so he can cross-examine senior prosecutor Billy Downer in a bid to prove that Downer – or any prosecutor appointed by the National Prosecuting Authority – is not fit to prosecute in the protracted matter.

Zuma’s request for the hearing is contained in his latest affidavit, filed with the same court on Wednesday, as his legal team and the State gear up to argue for and against the removal of Downer in July.

“I am advised that in that evidentiary hearing, I am entitled to cross-examine Mr Downer or any NPA official on the criminal conduct or prosecutorial violations on which I contend Downer lacks the necessary title to prosecute. I am advised… I would be entitled to place evidence on which I contend that my fair trial rights and related constitutional rights have been violated by acts of prosecutorial misconduct,” says Zuma in his 84-page replying affidavit to Downer and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Zuma contends that if Downer – based on the evidence he wants to present – is not removed it would “undermine the rule of law and place the entire constitutional system at grave risk”.

Zuma said he would include in his plea that not only should Downer be barred from prosecuting him, but that anyone assigned to his prosecution under the leadership of Downer should be “equally disqualified from conducting the prosecution” and that “no other person who is mandated by the NPA and the NPA itself is qualified to conduct the prosecution”.

Zuma also expressed “grave reservations of the lawfulness” of the appointment of senior counsels Andrew Breitenbach and Wim Trengove, who have been appointed to handle the plea.

The former president said Trengove and Breitenbach are “heavily implicated in wrongdoing” involving his case, and that their appointments are “defective, unlawful, irrational, unconstitutional”.

Furthermore, the appointment of both men showed a failure to consider “transformational imperatives”.

Zuma is accused of receiving 791 payments worth R4.1-million between 1995 and 2004 from his former financial adviser and convicted fraudster, Schabir Shaik, to protect Thales South Africa (Pty) Ltd, Zuma’s co-accused, from investigations relating to the 1999 multibillion-rand Arms Deal. The matter was supposed to go to trial in May.

But instead, Zuma entered a plea of not guilty as well as a special plea, as allowed by section 106(1)(h) of the Criminal Procedure Act, to have Downer removed as the prosecutor, claiming he has no title to prosecute. Should this be successful, Zuma believes that he must be acquitted.

Among his various claims, Zuma argues that the CIA has been involved in his prosecution and that he is being targeted for political reasons. He claims his prosecution has been “marred by ethnic discrimination” after he was called “Zulu boy” and “Zulu bastard”.

The slurs relate to allegedly intercepted communications within ANC and government circles dating back to about 2006, which Zuma believes gives credence to an ongoing political conspiracy that included pitting Zulus against Xhosas within the ANC. The emails were found to be a hoax. Nevertheless, the slurs gave rise to the “100% Zuluboy” shirts worn by Zuma’s supporters and were used as “proof” by the same that Zuma was being targeted.

Zuma has also threatened in his affidavit that if his special plea is not successful, he will again submit an application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

“I want to place evidence before the court, which the NPA will naturally be entitled to cross-examine, on the question of title to prosecute. Related to that, I wish to [put forward] evidence on which I contend that such a lack of title to prosecute entitles me to a removal order and to demand my acquittal. This feature, which must be determined after an evidentiary hearing, distinguishes it from an application for my prosecution to be stayed. That application remains available to me, and I intend to utilise it,” said Zuma.

He wants the hearing to examine the previous decision not to prosecute him alongside Shaik and “other strategic and tactical decisions made by the NPA which had an impact on my fair trial rights”.

“A court may not turn a blind eye to the evidence of criminal acts perpetrated by senior members of the NPA in which the constitutional status and legal authority of the NPA was abused to advance the political interests of my political competitors,” said Zuma.

He has accused Downer of a “prosecutorial cover-up” and defending alleged criminal acts by former national prosecution heads Bulelani Ngcuka and Vusi Pikoli and their “despicable abuse of the criminal process to victimise me for political reasons”.

“Mr Downer knew that Mr Ngcuka had political interests which essentially drove his choices in making the NPA related decisions. Mr Downer also knew that Mr Ngcuka’s meddling in my prosecution was aimed at achieving political goals consistent with his personal interests. Mr Downer knew that Mr Ngcuka’s conduct was a criminal act for which he should have been charged.”

The former president said that at the next court appearance, set for 19 July, he will seek an order that the evidentiary hearing be conducted on the issues relating to whether “evidence of political and intelligence meddling has undermined the State’s duty to conduct a fair and impartial hearing”.

“I am advised that it is the trial court that must first purge the infirmities of political and intelligence meddling in my prosecution,” said Zuma. DM

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All Comments 28

  • How can the courts let this idiot get away with this? It must be costing a fortune. Can’t wait to see this fool in an orange jumpsuit

  • How does this lowlife keep on getting away with this crap? Any other citizen of this country would by now have been prosecuted and locked away. Who or what are ‘they’ so scared of?

  • “undermine the rule of law and place the entire constitutional system at grave risk”. And that’s was this fool has been doing for the last 10 to 15 years.

  • The headline on News24 online by Karyn Maughan (one of their few very good reporters) says Zuma: I demand an acquittal. I’ll fill in the missing pieces:
    Says Zuma: “I demand an acquittal”.
    Says Billy Downer: “I demand a guilty verdict”.
    Says Zuma’s Advocate Mpofu: “Shut up, you are White”.
    Says Judge Koen: “Sit down Mr. Mpofu, I am in charge here”.
    Says Mpofu: “I am standing, if I can’t talk, then maybe I should leave”
    Says Judge Koen: “Mr. Mpofu, I said sit down”.
    Says Mpofu: “You too must sit down when I am talking” (Judge Koen was already sitting down”.
    Says Judge Koen: “Mr Mpofu, this is your last warning, sit down”
    Says Mpofu: “Judge, you too is White, and therefor biased against my client”.
    Says Downer: “Judge, what is your verdict?”
    Says Judge Koen: “Mr.Zuma, please stand up”. (Mr Zuma remains seated, staring at the judge)
    Says Judge Koen: “Mr Zuma, we the court find you guilty on all charges”.
    Says Zuma: “This is a political conspiracy against me. I demand that I an acquittal”
    Says Downer: “Thank you judge. Justice has been served after 16 long years”
    Says Mpofu: “No, no, no! I’ve lost again. Voersek to all White people”.
    Says Zuma (whimpering): “I will appeal, again, and again, and again. As long as the state pays for my legal defence”
    Says Downer: “And you will loose again, and again, and again”.
    Says Zuma: “Judge, can I have a soft bed, a good quality duvet, a 65″ TV with Netflix, and a young Kwezi-lookalike to keep me company”.

    • Today i learnt that Ms.Jiba is assisting the Public Defector in court in the Western Cape.How is this corrupt scut allowed in court? Where is the cut off line in the Bar Association? Mr.Mpofu belong in the Emotional Actors League where pithy politics,the Race Card and idiot philosophy are allowed; not in a law court.

  • Was this idiot really a president? It is true, but difficult to accept. And of course it is only a person who knows that he will be found guilty that will try anything possible not to get an orange overall.

    • Consider the gents that are giving him the advice. Zuma himself could not write 85 pages in pictographs let alone using the alphabet. Masuku and Mpofu heading for big payday. Zuma heading for CMax

  • Jacob sing us a song but use a different tune please. Also dont forget to tell Masuku and Mpofu that you cant afford to pay them to lose this case.

  • This is really getting ridiculous.The evading tactics with which this man’s legal team is trying to keep him from getting prosecuted will hopefully soon be exhausted. He himself is too dumb to think this all out. He should have been in jail by now because of the massive damage he and his corrupt cronies had caused this country’s economy.

  • What a circus- but it’s now becoming a little bit annoying! The man has no shame- and aren’t the poor judges getting a bit tired of the whole sick act!

  • If there was ever any doubt about Zuma’s guilt in the matter, his tactics have eliminated it. His knowledge of his own guilt is plain to see.

  • I can remember how the ANC cadres crowed and ululated with joy each time a vote of no confidence failed against this president and then I look at the present cabinet and see many of those names again. The more things change the more they remain the same.

  • Is anyone able to explain why the Concourt has not yet handed down sentence in the Zuma contempt matter ?”………..this delay is disgraceful 😡

    • Agreed. If this decision (guilty surely), was handed down, there is a chance he would be in orange overalls before the next court case.
      Bringing up false emails from 2006…he is really scraping the barrel.

    • Yes Tony Reilly. Justice delayed is justice denied.

      What are the Constitutional Court scared of? What is Mogoeng Mogeong playing at? When appointed he didn’t turn out to be a Zuma lackey as Zuma had hoped.

      Now that he’s on the verge of retirement it appears that he is trying to curry favour with the last president. Though what good that will do him is a mystery. It can’t be financial.
      Zuma can’t even pay his legal fees.

      Perhaps he’s hoping for weekly tea-for-two tete-a-tetes at Nkandla.

      Roll on the appointment of a new chief justice. This time a judge with unassailable integrity and entirely without reproach.

  • Nobody remember that he’s supposed to be in jail and there’s been nothing but silence from the ConCourt? There’s that too.

  • Surely the time has now arrived for our law makers to seriously consider a legal remedy to address what has now become an absolute abuse of the legal system by someone who has access to looted funds to unreasonably delay having his day in court!

  • Hopefully the courts will simply proceed and Zuma should relax because apparently he has done no wrong, so he should not worry about being found guilty!!!

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