The defence team for Jacob Zuma and Thales have set their arguments in stone this week, with the time for protesting their innocence now officially over. Court has been adjourned until Thursday, where the state will outline their reasons for why the former president must be prosecuted.
Jacob Zuma’s stay of prosecution hearing: The story so far
Tuesday was a war of attrition, as arms company Thales – accused of keeping Zuma on a R500 000 retainer to protect their interests in South Africa – argued about certain interpretations of law and their ability to secure a fair trial on these shores.
Advocate Anton Katz had even tried to distance the company from Msholozi, only to be pulled up by the bench of judges in Pietermaritzburg. His attempt to explain why Thales and Zuma are not linked by the reinstated charges was roundly rejected, poking holes in the defence.
The full bench is struggling to follow Katz’s argument, the judges keep interjecting, sighing and informing the advocate that his argument “does not make sense”. Katz pushes on attempting to show how Abrahams relied on the wrong sections of law to make his decision to prosecute
— Juniour Khumalo (@JKwritingz) May 21, 2019
Thales try to distance themselves from uBaba
Katz remained adamant that it was impossible for the French organisation to get hold of key witnesses to support their case, hampering their likelihood of being found innocent. He claimed some witnesses had even managed to escape the clutches of Interpol, who they had enlisted to find these people.
On Monday, we saw Jacob Zuma’s lawyers go hell for leather against the NPA – even boldly suggesting that Zuma should have been charged in 2005. The crime-busting organisation used the fact they already put Zuma on trial once against them, with Advocates Muzi Sikhakhane and Thabani Masuku painting them as “incompetent”.
Before the case was dismissed from court first time around, former NPA chiefs Bulelani Ngcuka and Leonard McCarthy were caught on tape disparaging Zuma, somewhat harming the prosecution’s argument. This subject came up against, with Sikhakhane blaming the “unconstitutional” NPA for pushing a vendetta against Mr Zuma.
Jacob Zuma in court – what happens next?
On Thursday, it will be the turn of Wim Trengrove to argue the prosecution’s case. Hopes of getting Jacob Zuma to a criminal trial effectively rest upon his shoulders. The lawyer is set to present a mountain of evidence against JZ, which will ultimately sink or save the 77-year-old.
Trengrove and his allies will have two days to present their arguments before court adjourns for the next three months. The three judges on the bench will not deliver their judgement until August.
Meanwhile, should Jacob Zuma’s stay of prosecution fail, his criminal trial would get underway on 15 October 2019. With two days down and two left to go of this hearing, the final decision rests on a knife-edge.