Zuma to battle it out in court again

Anna Majavu

It's D-Day for Jacob Zuma - again - as the state begins its appeal today against Pietermaritzburg high court judge Chris Nicholson's decision to drop all arms deal-related charges of corruption, money-laundering and racketeering against the ANC president.

Zuma's lawyers will also have to contend with former president Thabo Mbeki's application to be admitted as an amicus curiae, or friend of the court.

Last week, Mbeki applied to the supreme court of appeal (SCA) to be admitted as an amicus on the grounds that he wanted to contest Nicholson's inferences that he had politically meddled in the National Prosecuting Authority's case against Zuma.

Mbeki told the SCA that he was applying to be admitted as an amicus "in my personal capacity and in my capacity president and head of the national executive, as well as in the public interest".

The SCA said it would give Mbeki's lawyers 30 minutes to convince the judges why Mbeki should be admitted as an amicus.

But Zuma's lawyer, Michael Hulley, will argue today that Mbeki has no right to be admitted as amicus in his personal capacity.

This because none of Nicholson's comments about Mbeki's alleged political interference in the Zuma case referred to Mbeki in his personal capacity, Hulley says in his affidavit to the SCA.

Hulley also says that Mbeki knew very well that Zuma had testified in the Pietermaritzburg high court that Mbeki had pushed the NPA to recharge him (Zuma).

But Mbeki "nevertheless deliberately elected not to seek to intervene or participate in any way" in the Pietermaritzburg court proceedings".

But Mbeki says in his affidavit that he was never given an "opportunity to respond to any allegations of political interference".