'Zuma will return to court as SA president'

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

By the time ANC president Jacob Zuma returns to the Pietermaritzburg High Court, he would be going there as the president of the republic, ANC and its alliance partners boasted yesterday.

Zuma is expected to return to court on August 25.

His lawyers, the National Prosecuting Authority and Thint lawyers yesterday agreed before Judge Leona Theron they will each file their legal papers before the provisional date .

Thint will make its application for a permanent stay of prosecution on March 16 and the NPA will file its answering papers on May 4.

Thereafter, 14 days later, Thint will deliver its replying papers in court.

Between June 24 and 25, there would be oral arguments by Thint and the NPA.

Zuma would then make his application for a permanent stay of prosecution on May 18.

The NPA will then, three weeks later, file its answering papers, which would be followed by Zuma's legal team response on July 24.

On August 11, Zuma is expected to make his heads of arguments, which will be followed by NPA's delivery of its heads of arguments eight days later, followed by oral arguments on August 25.

However, this will only happen if his application for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court is turned down.

Zuma went to the Constitutional Court to appeal against the Supreme Court of Appeal's judgment of January 12 where it overturned Judge Chris Nicholson's ruling that his prosecution was invalid.

ANC spokesman Jessie Duarte said the postponement was a blessing for the ANC.

"We are happy as it will give us enough time to concentrate on our election campaign."

But Duarte expressed concern at the continuous postponements, as yesterday's court appearance was for "the 38th time" - saying it was not in the best interests of the country.

Young Communist League's secretary Buti Manamela said whether they must come to Pietermaritzburg for the 100th time, they would do so, but the only difference would be that by that time, "Zuma would be coming from the Union Buildings".

Meanwhile, Anna Majavu reports that the ANC wants to be a "friend of the court" in both of Zuma's Constitutional Court and Pietermaritzburg high court trials.