The Jacob Zuma foundation said they are concerned by the Pietermaritzburg’s High Court to hear the Thales matter virtually.
Commenting on Twitter on Saturday the foundation said, the statement released by the Office of the Chief Justice that court proceedings of the arms deal trial will proceed on 19 July, virtually. It was postponed late in May.
“The Foundation is concerned that the directions issued by the Court in PMB to hear the matter virtually are not consistent with provisions of both the CPA and the Constitution as set out below. The matter must be heard physically on the 19th or later when the country is calmer,” the foundation responded.
Siting the Constitution, Section 158 of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) it states, “Except as otherwise expressly provided for by this Act or any other law, all criminal proceedings in any court shall take place in the presence of the accuse.”
Zuma and French arms manufacturer Thales – which allegedly bribed the former statesman – are on trial over the controversial multibillion-rand arms deal.
The former president is facing 16 counts including fraud‚ corruption, money laundering and racketeering, while Thales faces four counts.
Zuma pleaded not guilty to all charges.
There has been unrest and protests as a result of Zuma’s 15-month jail sentence by the Constitutional Court’s and its decision to find him guilty of contempt of court for defiance against a court order for him to reappear at the Zondo Commission.
Widespread protests and violence were seen in KwaZulu-Natal and spread to Gauteng. It then quickly turned to acts of violence, vigilantism and looting.
The chaotic week resulted in the deaths of 212 people. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government confirmed on Thursday that one of the 12 suspected instigators behind the public violence had been arrested.
Ramaphosa also confirmed that more South African National Defence Force members would be deployed to assist police in their operations in KZN and Gauteng.
“We are rolling out our security forces. 25,000 soldiers are now being rolled out. And in a short space of time, they would have flooded the entire province and Gauteng,” he said.
While Ramaphosa acknowledged the pain of some South Africans and business owners who have lost much to the looting, he said declaring a state of emergency should only be implemented if other means fail to stabilise the situation.