Potpourri of witnesses

The state has lined up more than 200 witnesses that include former judge Willem Heath and other key figures to testify in its fraud and corruption case against ANC president Jacob Zuma.

The state has lined up more than 200 witnesses that include former judge Willem Heath and other key figures to testify in its fraud and corruption case against ANC president Jacob Zuma.

Zuma will appear in the Pietermaritzburg high court on August 14 on 16 charges that include 12 counts of fraud, two of corruption, one of racketeering and one of money laundering.

The two South African subsidiaries of Thales International, formerly Thomson-CFS Thint Holding (Southern Africa), and Thint - each face a charge of racketeering and two counts of corruption.

The state filed the indictment on Friday with a list of 218 witnesses that includes Independent Democrat party leader Patricia de Lille; former ANC MP Andrew Feinstein; former chairman of parliament's standing committee on public accounts, Gavin Woods; Durban business tycoon Vivian Reddy; Nelson Mandela's former attorney Ismail Ayob and KPMG forensic auditor Johan van der Walt whose testimony was crucial during the Schabir Shaik trial.

He had revealed that Reddy had helped Zuma obtain a R900000 bond. Reddy signed surety for part of it and then made the monthly R12000 bond repayment until March 2004.

Another notable name is that of Richard Young, the Cape Town businessman whose company, C2I2 Systems, lost out on a bid to supply combat technology for the navy's new corvettes to African Defence Systems - a company in which convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik and Thint had stakes.

The three secretaries who were crucial in implicating Shaik are also on the witness list. Shaik's former personal assistant Bianca Singh as well as the secretaries of former Thint boss Alain Thetard - Susan Delique and Marion Marais - are also expected to testify.

It was Delique who typed out the note that would later become the so-called "encrypted fax" which records an alleged bribe of R500000 a year for Zuma from Thomson CSF. In her testimony during the Shaik trial Delique said Thetard had told her to type the agreement and fax it in encrypted form to France.

Attached to the indictment filed on Friday was also a spreadsheet which detailed a list of payments allegedly made by Shaik and his companies for school fees and allowances totalling R4072499,85 for Zuma's children from October 25 1995 to July 1 2005.

The latest developments to charge Zuma have been met with criticism by Zuma's lawyer Michael Hulley with his political allies claiming the charges are "trumped up".

Hulley yesterday said the timing of the indictment had confirmed the long-held view that the Scorpions were influenced and their prosecution informed by political considerations.

"The timing of the service of the indictment is calculated to quickly redress the popular support and call to leadership of the ANC which Mr Zuma's election so obviously demonstrates." - Sapa

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