A decade later and Zuma is back in the Pietermaritzburg High Court

Former president Jacob Zuma in the dock alongside Christine Guerrier, who is representing Thint‚ the local subsidiary of French arms company Thales, at the Durban High Court on April 6 2018.
Former president Jacob Zuma in the dock alongside Christine Guerrier, who is representing Thint‚ the local subsidiary of French arms company Thales, at the Durban High Court on April 6 2018.
Image: Felix Dlangamandla

Former president Jacob Zuma is likely to get a sense of déjà vu when he appears in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday - almost a decade to the day - for the same charges.

In August 2008‚ Zuma and his then co-accused Pierre Moynot‚ representing the French-based arms company Thint, formerly known as Thales‚ appeared in court on 18 charges of corruption‚ money laundering‚ fraud and tax evasion.

The French-based company is accused of offering Zuma a R500 000-a-year bribe to protect it from any investigations linked to South Africa’s multibillion-rand arms deal.

ANC MK veteran Carl Niehaus‚ who was outside court on Friday morning‚ said he recalled being at the Pietermaritzburg for Zuma's appearance in 2008.

"I am one of those who came here to support Msholozi‚ because I believe he has been treated unfairly. For him to come back here again and face these charges and humiliation is unfair‚" said Niehaus.

A month after his August appearance‚ former high court judge‚ Chris Nicholson‚ threw the case out of court‚ saying that Zuma was entitled to make representation to the National Director of Public Prosecutions before they charged him.

He ruled: "The obligation to hear representations forms part of the audi alteram partem principle. What is required is that a person who may be adversely affected by a decision be given an opportunity to make representations with a view to procuring a favourable result. The affected person should usually be informed of the gist or the substance of the case‚ which he is to answer."

Following representations, the charges were reinstated National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams on March 16 after for "the interest of transparency, justice and the NPA, which he said was of the view that a trial court will be the most appropriate forum for the arms deal issues to be ventilated.

On Friday‚ about a 100 Zuma loyalists gathered at the Dales Park in Pietermaritzburg to march to the high court about 2km away.

- Additional reporting by Neo Goba

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