STATE READY WITH ARMS DEAL CASE AGAINST FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT ZUMA

PRETORIA– The State says it’s ready for the case against former South African president Jacob Zuma on Friday in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, capital of Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Zuma faces 16 charges relating to 783 instances of alleged wrongdoing relating to a 1990s arms deal with European military equipment makers. Twelve of the charges relate to fraud, one of racketeering, two of corruption and one of money laundering.

Legal experts say Zuma’s new legal counsel is most likely to request a postponement to familiarise themselves with the case.

The State had indicated it was ready from the onset, even setting a provisional trial date for November. However, the same cannot be said about Zuma’s defence team and once again on Friday, the ball will be in the former president’s court.

While his defence had indicated they may seek to pursue a review application, there is still uncertainty about the former president’s legal fees.

Zuma terminated the services of his long-time senior counsel, Kemp J Kemp, due to finances after the opposition parties, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), took the matter of government’s agreement to fund Zuma legal fees to court.

At Friday’s appearance, the new defence team will probably map out the way forward.

Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has rejected representations by French arms company Thales to withdraw charges against it.

Thales, which has been represented in court by Christine Gurrier, faces charges of fraud and corruption. Gurrier, who travels from France to attend proceedings, was excused from Friday’s appearance.

Zuma supporters are expected to once again gather outside the court to support the former president.

A night vigil was also held in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday night.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK