Former president Jacob Zuma’s fight for a permanent stay of prosecution, related to a series of corruption charges against him, continues in the KZN High Court in Pietermaritzburg.
(Courtesy of SABC)
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NOTE: In simple terms, Katz is trying to convince the court that Shaun Abrahams acted irrationally when he reinstituted charges against Thales. He is relying on highly technical arguments over interpretations of the Constitution, and how the powers of the NDPP are delegated. The bench is giving Katz a very hard time.
– News24 reporter Kyle Cowan
Judge Esther Steyn steps in again. “It seems Thales is saying the NDPP’s powers stem only from Section 22.9 (of the Constitution). But it does not…”
Mnguni: “We are just trying to understand your argument.”
Katz is battling a full bench this morning. Mnguni has a few times sighed, slumped in his chair, and shaken his head. Katz has also been challenged by Steyn, and Poyo-Dlwati. At the crux of it, in what Mnguni is pushing Katz on, is that the trial has not yet started, and Katz is seeking to advance arguments Mnguni is saying should be held onto until the actual trial starts. “Are we even there yet?” he asks.
– News24 reporter Kyle Cowan
There is lots of back and forth between Katz and the bench this morning. Mnguni has put his foot down, and is pushing Katz to stick to his heads of argument, and to disregard a note he handed up earlier.
Katz, quoting a paragraph from a letter authored by Abrahams, submits that he believes it is “wrong in law”, at which point Judges Mnguni and Poyo-Dlwati exchange a meaningful look.
Abrahams must know the section he is relying on when he makes a decision. Katz is arguing, because this case falls directly under the Constitution and not common law, Abrahams cannot escape the ire of the court because he made a decision, and simply by mistake relied on the wrong section of common law.
“Under the Constitution, it cannot be,” he says.
The unlawful decision of Mpshe, to withdraw charges, is intertwined with the decision to prosecute Thales, Judge Bhekisisa Mnguni tells Katz.
Katz: “Abrahams could have had 10 good reasons, intertwined with Thales…”
Mnguni interrupts: “Did he have to have any reasons, Mr Katz?”
Katz: “We will come to that.”
Indeed, Abrahams was hellbent on prosecuting Thales, and no representations would have made any difference, Katz says, quoting from the company’s replying affidavit.
Katz submits that just based on this, if he can convince the court of this conclusion, the stay of prosecution should be granted.
Katz will focus on letters written by Abrahams himself, in the Zuma/Democratic Alliance case (the “Spy Tapes” case). He says he will convince the court based on the contents of these letters why Abrahams’ conduct was questionable.
Advocate Anton Katz SC for Thales, also seeking a permanent stay of prosecution, launches right into his submissions. Thales’ argument will focus on the conduct of former NDPP Shaun Abrahams.
The second part of Thales’ argument will mirror closely the argument of Zuma’s team.
Former president Jacob Zuma has arrived in court, and proceedings are now under way.
Apartheid laws and conspiracies: ‘You can’t conspire to charge an innocent citizen like Zuma’
Former president Jacob Zuma on Monday took a swipe at the National Prosecuting Authority, saying prosecutors had been “ambitious” to charge him.
He told a group of supporters gathered outside the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg, who waited for hours to hear him speak, that the case against him was 15 years old, and he did not understand why it was still being pursued.
He compared the actions of prosecutors to Apartheid-era justice â echoing his lawyer advocate Muzi Sikhakhane SC, who also drew parallels between Zuma’s corruption case and Apartheid laws.
There is a witch hunt against me, Zuma tells supporters outside court
Former President Jacob Zuma has labelled the corruption trial against him a politically-motivated witch hunt and says his lawyers will show the court how the NPA conspired to prevent him from becoming president.
“Those who were meant to be witnesses have even forgotten their testimony. Some have died,” he told supporters in isiZulu outside the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg.
“We are now arguing that if this trial continues, it’s just a witch hunt. We canât have a trial based on this. We argue this trial is not fresh and witnesses have died and the presiding judges have retired.”
‘Spy tapes’ rehashed: Zuma is the victim here, says lawyer
During then-president Jacob Zuma and French arms dealer Thales’ application for a permanent stay of prosecution on Monday, advocate Muzi Sikhakhane SC turned to transcripts of the Spy Tapes to illustrate that Zuma was victimised.
Sikhakhane’s aim in reading sections of the Spy Tapes into the record was two-fold: “I want to show the disdain with which they discuss Mr Zuma,” he told the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg.
He also used this as his hammer to drive home the sharp wedge of his argument â that the National Prosecuting Authority acted “unconstitutionally” in the way it handled Zuma and the corruption charges against him.
Zuma should have been charged in 2005 with Shaik – defence
The KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg heard on Monday morning that former president Jacob Zuma should have been charged in 2005 alongside his financial advisor Schabir Shaik.
This was argued by Zumaâs own lawyer, advocate Muzi Sikhakhane SC, who is trying to persuade the court to grant an application for a permanent stay of prosecution. The matter is being heard by a full bench, consisting of Judges Bhekisisa Mnguni, Tholo Poyo-Dlwati and Esther Steyn.
Zuma and French arms company Thales are facing charges of fraud, money laundering, corruption and racketeering for a series of alleged bribes paid to Zuma through Shaik, during the multibillion-rand arms deal in the late 1990s. Shaik was found guilty of fraud and corruption in June 2005 for irregularities surrounding the same matter, and sentenced to an effective 15 years behind bars.
Duduzane Zuma, Mngxitama, Niehaus at court for Zuma
Support for former president Jacob Zuma appeared to be dwindling slightly as his corruption court proceedings commenced on Monday.
At the majority of his other appearances in Pietermaritzburg, there has been large support from various sectors early in the morning, but there was almost zero public support for him by 10:00 at his court appearance on Monday.
By 11:00 however, groups of Zuma supporters and MK veterans could be seen marching and dancing toward the court, the numbers of which were still less than at previous appearances.
Jacob Zuma’s last gasp? What you need to know about the former president’s latest legal tussle
Former President Jacob Zuma will this week take the plunge in what will likely be his final opportunity to dodge a series of corruption charges he has successfully side-stepped for more than a decade.
Zuma is set to appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court for four days this week when a full bench will hear his application for a permanent stay of prosecution.
If Zuma is successful he will be immune from these charges, which relate to alleged bribes paid to him by French arms company Thales â one of the successful contractors in the multi-billion rand Arms Deal.
ICYMI – OPINION:
Zuma will return to court with 3 arguments to end his prosecution. Will he succeed?
The Jacob Zuma corruption trial will soon recommence in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court with his new legal team bringing three arguments in favour of a permanent stay of prosecution. It seems doubtful that they will succeed, writes Serjeant at the Bar.
The saga relating to the prosecution of Jacob Zuma is moving into a new but certainly not the last phase. An application for a permanent stay of prosecution of Mr Zuma will soon be heard in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court but again not without the negotiation of further procedural hurdles constructed by Mr Zuma’s new legal team.
Before we get to this latest issue, it is important to remind ourselves that, were the application to succeed, Mr Zuma would finally be off the legal hook insofar as this set of criminal charges against him are concerned.
NPA delays in Zuma corruption matter due to ‘voluminous nature of papers’
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has admitted to not filing papers explaining why former president Jacob Zuma must go on trial for his corruption and racketeering case.
NPA spokesperson Natasha Kara said in a statement on Saturday that the State attorney representing the NPA wrote to the attorneys for Zuma and French arms company Thales on February 21, requesting their consent to an extension of the date for filing to Monday, March 11.
She said this was due to the “voluminous nature of the papers filed by Zuma’s legal team”.
“This request was made on the basis that it would be agreeable that the dates for the filing of their client’s replying papers and heads of argument be extended to April 12 and 30 respectively”.