Zuma not responsible for trial delays – lawyers
Publish date: 04 November 2019
Issue Number: 848
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa
Former President Jacob Zuma’s lawyers say the High Court that dismissed his bid to permanently stop his corruption prosecution was wrong to find he was equally responsible for the delays in his trial, notes legal writer Karyn Maughan in a Business Day report. ‘The High Court ought to have found that only the NPA is constitutionally obliged to ensure that Mr Zuma’s prosecution was brought within a reasonable time as required by the Constitution,’ Zuma’s lawyers argue in a 25-page leave to appeal application filed at the KZN High Court (Pietermaritzburg) on Friday. They also undermine any suggestion that Zuma’s multiple court challenges to various aspects of his prosecution were responsible for the 14-year delay in his trial. ‘The fact that Mr Zuma exercised his constitutional rights to challenge the conduct of the NPA in its exercise of prosecutorial discretion does not make him liable for the unreasonable delay,’ they argue. The bid to appeal the ruling will be heard on 22 November. If unsuccessful, Zuma faces the prospect of going on trial, with Thales, in April 2020. Zuma’s lawyers argue that the High Court disregarded the ‘incontrovertible evidence of political interference of the Zuma prosecution by the NPA’, as contained in a statement by prosecutions boss Willie Hofmeyr, which was dismissed by the SCA. The court ought to have found that political interference with prosecution was a breach of the independence of the NPA and accordingly unconstitutional, they argue.