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Song, dance and drama as usual outside court

By unknown | Aug 05, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mary Papayya andMhlaba Memela

Mary Papayya andMhlaba Memela

Relaxed, smiling and confident-looking, ANC president Jacob Zuma arrived in the Pietermaritzburg high court yesterday flanked by both national and provincial ANC leadership to contest charges against him.

Zuma is facing charges of racketeering, fraud and corruption. He has lodged an application to have the case against him withdrawn.

While much of the argument in court centred on technicalities related to his defence, outside the court thousands of his supporters sang and danced, reiterating their calls that "he is innocent".

Judge Chris Nicholson listened attentively as Zuma's defence attorney, Kemp J Kemp, stuck to his client's arguments on the unconstitutionality of the charges.

Judge Nicholson interjected a question now and then.

He also set the provisional trial date for Zuma's co-accused, French arms dealer Thint, for December 8.

In a moment of ease Zuma and his co-accused, Pierre Moynot, managed to share a smile.

This was after Gauteng-based attorney Zehir Omar - who is bringing an amicus curiae (friends of the court) application on behalf of the organisation calling itself The Society for the Protection of the Constitution - had handed Zuma a drink of water.

Outside court the music played on while throngs of Zuma supporters danced and sang. Some had camped under the open skies since Sunday night.

The treasurer-general of the ANC Mathews Phosa said: "We believe he is innocent" He also used the opportunity to "set the record straight", saying the ANC at no stage questioned the courts or media.

"We believe in the independence of the courts and the media, but having a differing opinion does not mean (media and courts) do.

"We believe this case is about something bigger and both the courts and media must understand that there is another constituency whose views matter."

During the lunch break ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema again lashed out at President Thabo Mbeki, calling him a "coward".

"He is the one who caused Zuma so many problems. He should step down now and give Zuma a chance to lead South Africa."


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