WATCH | Zuma has been 'ready for 14 years' - but his appeal halts corruption case until at least February

15 October 2019 - 11:27
By Lwandile Bhengu

Former president Jacob Zuma "has been ready to face this trial for over 14 years", his advocate said on Tuesday, but the corruption case against him has been halted again.

Zuma appeared in the Pietermaritzburg high court on Tuesday, where the pre-trial in the corruption matter was supposed to start after the same court on Friday dismissed his application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

However, state prosecutor Billy Downer told the court that Zuma's lawyers had made it known that they were going to appeal Friday's judgment.

"We have been informed that there will be applications for leave to appeal. The state will be opposing such applications," said Downer.

"As we have said from the beginning, the state is ready for trial and that remains the case. We remain ready," he added.

Zuma's attorney Adv Thabani Masuku said the former president had been ready for trial for over a decade.

"Mr Zuma has been ready to face this trial for over 14 years. We are happy to hear that the stage is also finally ready. Mr Zuma intends to exercise the full extent of his constitutional right, which includes right to appeal," said Masuku.

Zuma's legal team have until November 1 to file their application for leave to appeal, which will be argued on November 22.

A pre-trial holding date - depending on the outcome of the appeal - has been set for February 4 2020.

The co-accused in the matter, French arms company Thales, stands accused of agreeing to pay Zuma a yearly R500,000 bribe for protection from an investigation into the controversial multibillion-rand arms deal.

The alleged bribe is said to have been facilitated by Zuma's former financial adviser‚ Schabir Shaik.

Thales' legal representative, Adv Anton Katz, said he had not received any instruction to appeal the dismissal of the permanent stay of prosecution.