Zuma and legal team will not be in high court on Wednesday

Former president Jacob Zuma said he is ready to face his criminal trial.
Former president Jacob Zuma said he is ready to face his criminal trial.
Image: File

Former president Jacob Zuma and his legal team will not be at the Pietermaritzburg high court on Wednesday.

The criminal matter against Zuma was set to start on Wednesday but has been postponed until June 23.

Zuma's new lawyer, Eric Mabuza, told TimesLIVE on Monday that the defence and state had agreed to postpone the matter.

"We have sent our proposal to the judge president. We don’t have to show up. The matter will be postponed, but I don’t know how they will do it. This is according to the arrangement we have reached, but that arrangement is subject to the judge president," he said.

Mabuza said the legal teams could not travel during the lockdown, and the state was "dealing with" the proposal sent to KwaZulu-Natal deputy judge president Mjabuliseni Isaac Madondo.

He was unaware if the state had received a response from Madondo.

The office of the chief justice said it will send out a media advisory about what is expected to occur on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the former president was "ready to face his trial".

"He (Zuma) has issued two statements to say he is ready to proceed and is looking forward to the trial," Mabuza said.

He refused to comment about  Zuma's health.

"I don’t want to get into that as it remains a private matter."

Zuma's health took centre stage at proceedings in February when a warrant of arrest was issued and then stayed until May 6.

The former president had failed to appear in court, citing a medical condition.

Zuma's then lawyer, Daniel Mantsha, submitted a sick note from a military hospital where Zuma was treated, but judge Dhaya Pillay said it was inadmissible due to inconsistencies.

The former president's co-accused, the French arms manufacturing company Thales, is 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 was facilitated by Zuma’s former financial adviser‚ Schabir Shaik.

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