South Africa

ARMS DEAL CORRUPTION TRIAL

Court agrees to postponement application, calls for Zuma’s doctor to submit affidavit

Court agrees to postponement application, calls for Zuma’s doctor to submit affidavit
Former president Jacob Zuma. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

The former president’s Arms Deal corruption trial is stalled yet again by agreement on a virtual hearing due to Zuma’s treatment for an undisclosed ailment.

 

Dianne Hawker is a news editor at Newzroom Afrika and has been a legal journalist for more than 15 years.

If the Jacob Zuma trial were to have a motto, it would most likely be “hurry up and wait”. The case will face another postponement on Tuesday, 10 August, as the former president receives treatment for an undisclosed illness. 

The prosecution, Zuma’s lawyers and those representing Thales have agreed that Tuesday’s hearing should be heard virtually to allow the court to hear the latest postponement application. 

“I can confirm that tomorrow Mr Zuma’s legal team will make a substantive application for a postponement virtually. It’s unfortunate that there will be a postponement as our team is ready to argue the special plea as planned but these are circumstances beyond our control,” NPA spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said on Monday.

Judge Piet Koen issued a directive on Monday that the court’s IT staff set up a virtual hearing. “I have today at 10h26 received an email from Mr Downer SC, copied to the addressees of this email, advising that Mr Zuma remains admitted in a health facility outside the Estcourt Correctional Centre following his hospitalisation late last week. He will accordingly not be able to attend court tomorrow,” Judge Koen says. 

The court also requested that Zuma’s lawyer file “an affidavit by a medical practitioner treating Mr Zuma”.

“If, on the postponed date, Mr Zuma applies for a further postponement, his application shall be supported by the viva voce [oral] evidence of a medical practitioner treating him, who may be cross-examined by the State, and the State may adduce rebutting viva voce evidence, either there and then, or at an adjourned hearing,” Judge Koen said.

The court has asked the parties to agree on the next court date, “which shall be within a reasonably short period depending on the availability of all concerned”.

Zuma vs Downer

The court was due to hear Zuma’s special plea application to have prosecutor Billy Downer removed from the case. Zuma is arguing that Downer should be removed from the case and the entire case should be dismissed. He is also challenging Downer’s fitness to prosecute in terms of section 106 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

The Zuma team argues that Downer has acted with bias against Zuma in the handling of the prosecution, citing the lengthy background of the court case, which has taken more than a decade to go to court. In particular, the Zuma legal team wants the court to examine Downer’s conduct in the NPA’s initial decision not to prosecute Zuma and the court’s subsequent rulings on the decision. 

“Simply put, Downer does not deny that [former NPA head Bulelani] Ngcuka’s decision not to charge Mr Zuma was largely for political reasons — based on his position as deputy president of the ANC and the country. He says that he warned all the NDPPs about these political factors influencing the prosecuting decisions. Downer does not deny that Ngcuka’s decision not to issue warrants to conduct a search of Mr Zuma’s premises at the same time that such searches were conducted at Shaik’s premises was for political reasons. Downer knew that Ngcuka had political interests which essentially powered his prosecutorial decisions,” Zuma’s team says in its heads of argument.

Meanwhile, the NPA is set to argue that Downer’s conduct has not broken any prosecutorial rules and that Zuma is using this special plea as a delaying tactic. 

“On the contrary, as Mr Downer explains in his answering affidavit, his view and that of the prosecution team has always been that Mr Zuma should have been charged together with Mr [Schabir] Shaik and they said as much in their memorandum to the NDPP on 21 August 2003 [something which  Mr Zuma himself acknowledges elsewhere in his plea explanation]. Indeed, when announcing his decision on 23 August 2003, Mr Ngcuka, to his credit, said: ‘The investigating team recommended that we institute a prosecution against Deputy President Zuma’,” the NPA has said in court papers.

Zuma is facing charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Auke Van Der Meulen Van Der Meulen says:

    Q: same doctor that helped Shabir?

  • Rg Bolleurs says:

    Here we go again.

  • Mike Meyer says:

    So, who didn’t see that coming?

  • Charles Parr says:

    Why the surprise? This was as predictable as night follows day.

  • Miles Japhet says:

    Send in 3 independent doctors to evaluate him and call the bluff

  • Ian Gwilt says:

    “which shall be within a reasonably short period depending on the availability of all concerned”.
    Well Zuma has no travel plans for a while, so why not next week

  • Chris 123 says:

    I’m sure there are plenty of corrupt doctors that would sign off on that. In fact how about the ex minister he’s a Doctor, isn’t he?

  • John Gosling says:

    Why did Judge Pit Koen buckled to Mphofu’s rediculous plea that JZ appear in person and not via Zoom? Incomprehensible! Now, of course, the Stalingrad defense continues, JZ was supposedly hospitalized for a routine check up. Just happened to coincide with his in person court appearance. Who knew!

  • Nos Feratu says:

    Why does the legal system put a foot down on all the BS produced by the despicable accused?

    • Kanu Sukha says:

      Because it would reflect poorly on their presumed and assumed ‘impartiality’ … methinks ! The ‘listen to the other party’ (latin mumbo jumbo about audi alteram partem … rule!) mantra has to be invoked to lend credibility to the ‘profession’ but more like ‘industry’ in my view – where they apparently ‘work’ hard for their money …. and integrity is just another word ! Dilly Dali is a prime exponent of this confusing garbage parading as ‘learned’. Oh … there is no known antidote or vaccine for this virus … though that foreign thing called humility may work !

  • Lorinda Winter says:

    Please pretty please load Zuma, his wives, children and cows in a SAA aircraft and fly them to Dubai!! He is costing us billions. Am so incredibly sick and tired of reading about him and his Stalingrad tactics and why can’t the courts grow a pair?

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    “If, on the postponed date, Mr Zuma applies for a further postponement, his application shall be supported by the viva voce [oral] evidence of a medical practitioner treating him, who may be cross-examined by the State, and the State may adduce rebutting viva voce evidence, either there and then, or at an adjourned hearing,” Judge Koen said.

    I assume that “the state” can and will include a team of recognised medical doctors expert in the necessary field. I further assume that if the doctor/s for the defense are found to be misrepresenting in any way they are liable to be permanently struck off the medical role and / or imprisoned for defeating the ends of justice.

  • Helen Swingler says:

    Not a Russian doctor by any chance? Is there a cure for thievery and treason? Or only overseas?

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

X

This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.


Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

Make your taxes work for you

Donate to Daily Maverick’s non-profit arm, the Scorpio Investigative Unit, by 29 February 2024 and you’ll qualify for a tax break.

We issue Section 18A tax certificates for all donations made to Daily Maverick. These can be presented to SARS for tax relief.

Make your donation today

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Daily Maverick The Gathering 2024 banner

Daily Maverick has secured an esteemed speaker line-up...

to help make sense of Elections 2024.

Trevor Manuel, Prof Thuli Madonsela and Minister Ronald Lamola are among the latest panellists confirmed for Daily Maverick The Gathering Twenty Twenty-Four.

Join us, on Thurs 14 March 2024 at CTICC Cape Town or online wherever you are, for an event that will put the election in perspective.

Become a Maverick Insider

This could have been a paywall

On another site this would have been a paywall. Maverick Insider keeps our content free for all.

Become an Insider