Citizen Reporter
Reporter
2 minute read
9 Aug 2021
9:45 am

UPDATE: Zuma’s legal team to apply for postponement

Citizen Reporter

A possible postponement looms, according to the Jacob Zuma Foundation.

Picture File: Former President Jacob Zuma addresses his supporters outside his house on July 04, 2021 in Nkandla, South Africa. The former president was found guilty of contempt of court by the Constitutional Court of South Africa and has been sentenced to 15 months imprisonment. (Photo by Gallo Images/Volksblad/Mlungisi Louw)

The Jacob Zuma Foundation on Monday dropped another bombshell, this time alluding to a possible postponement of this week’s court proceedings involving the former president’s arms deal corruption trial. 

On Monday morning, the Foundation said it confirmed with the Department of Correctional Services that Zuma, who was admitted to hospital earlier this week for medical observation, was still in hospital. 

It has since emerged that Zuma’s legal team will be making a substantive application for a postponement of the trial, which was due to take place in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday.

“I can confirm that tomorrow, Mr Zuma’s legal team will make a substantive application for a postponement virtually.

“It’s unfortunate that there will be a postponement as our team is ready to argue the special plea as planned, but these are circumstances beyond our control,” NPA spokesperson advocate Mthunzi Mhaga said.

According to an earlier tweet, Zuma’s and the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) legal teams were in discussion to approach Judge Piet Koen, who is presiding over the matter, for a postponement. 

Zuma wanted his Thales arms deal corruption trial to be heard in an open court, rather than virtually. 

This meant the directive of 15 July which said the plea would be heard virtually was revoked by the Pietermaritzburg High Court. 

Still no need to panic?

When Zuma was first hospitalised for an annual checkup, the Foundation said at the time there was no need to panic just yet. 

The former president is 79 years old.

The department of correctional services last week said Zuma’s hospitalisation “requires the involvement of the South African Military Health Services”, as has been the case since his incarceration.

The department said, “everyone who is detained, including every sentenced prisoner, has the right to conditions of detention that are consistent with human dignity”.

#FreeJacobZuma

Supporters behind the #FreeJacobZuma campaign recently said they would approach the International Criminal Court (ICC) in an effort to force his release from prison.

The group plans to lodge a case for investigation and prosecution with the ICC in The Hague, Netherlands, under the Rome Statute.

Zuma and Thales, a French arms manufacturer, will be on trial regarding a controversial multibillion-rand arms deal dating back to the 1990s. 

Zuma faces 18 charges and 783 counts related to the case, including fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering, while Thales faces four charges.

During a court appearance on 26 May, Zuma pleaded not guilty. Earlier, his legal team filed an affidavit to have NPA prosecutor Billy Downer recused from prosecuting the case. 

Updates to follow as more information is made available.

Compiled by Nica Richards. Additional reporting by Cheryl Kahla and Molefe Seeletsa.