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Legalbrief   |   your legal news hub Monday 22 April 2019

Defiant Zuma again threatens to expose others

Former President Jacob Zuma’s redeployment of the Stalingrad defence that has served him so well in previous skirmishes with judicial authorities was evident again on Friday when the KwaZulu-Natal High Court (Durban) agreed to postpone his fraud and corruption case to 27 July when it will be moved to the Pietermaritzburg division of the High Court, notes Legalbrief. Zuma wasted no time after his appearance proclaiming his innocence, and hinting he was ready to expose other ANC brass on corruption (see report below) if they continued to pursue him. This came after his lawyer, Michael Hulley, had told the court he should have more clarity on his client's funding issues by that date. However, he would also still be lodging an application to review NDPP's decision to charge him, which was delayed because of lack of funding. The High Court heard on Friday that the Presidency had not responded to a request from Zuma’s lawyers on whether the state will continue to pay his legal fees. According to a BusinessLIVE report, Hulley said a letter was sent to the Director-General in the Presidency on 24 May. However, there had been no response. Hulley represented Zuma at his second appearance, as his preferred advocates‚ Kemp J Kemp and Hoosen Gani‚ are believed not to have obtained clearance from the Presidency to represent the former President. Hulley hoped that by the next court appearance‚ the funding issue would be resolved so there would be clarity on the way forward. However, notes the report, an application brought by the DA opposing the state paying Zuma’s legal fees is expected to go ahead only next year. And the Presidency has said it will uphold the court’s decision. Hulley told the High Court on Friday that he was unsure whether that meant that the status quo was still in place.

Prosecutor Billy Downer consented to the adjournment to allow the defence to ‘get its house in order’ but told the court it was disappointing that both defence teams did not meet expectations. He explained that an adjournment granted in April until 8 June was to allow Zuma and co-accused Thales to launch their applications for a stay of prosecution. However‚ that was not done. While Zuma failed to launch his application‚ Thales lawyers submitted their papers to the state only two days ahead of Friday’s hearing‚ leaving the prosecution little time to consider them. ‘The state is ready to proceed but the defence’s house is not in order‚’ Downer said. He mentioned 12 November as a possible trial date. However‚ notes BusinessLIVE, it is highly unlikely that it will go ahead on that date. Judge Mjabuliseni Madondo adjourned the matter until next month. It is being moved to Pietermaritzburg as the High Court in Durban is being renovated.

Meanwhile, Zuma has again threatened to expose those who call him corrupt. Speaking to a few hundred supporters outside the High Court on Friday, Zuma said he was tired of being the good guy and if people did not stop speaking about him, he would expose them. He said the truth would come out about those who were seen to be saints. This is not the first time Zuma has made threats about exposing other politicians, many of them in the ANC, notes a second BusinessLIVE report. The ANC’s national executive committee has called on party structures not to show support for anyone facing corruption charges. DA leader Mmusi Maimane was quick to react to Zuma’s defiance, notes Legalbrief. He said that if the former President knew about corrupt activities effected by those who were now targeting him, he was obliged to report it. Maimane noted he had laid a charge against Zuma under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act when he’d made similar remarks in the past. He said state institutions had to compel Zuma to produce this information. ‘If you know about acts of corruption, you have an obligation to report it,’ said Maimane. He challenged Zuma to come forward with information he claimed to have.