Jovial Jacob Zuma confident corruption trial will be finalised this year

Speaking to hundreds of supporters outside the Pietermaritzburg high court, Zuma said his lawyers would prove there was no case against him

Jacob Zuma in the Pietermaritzburg high court on Wednesday, where he pleaded not guilty to a raft of corruption and fraud charges.
Jacob Zuma in the Pietermaritzburg high court on Wednesday, where he pleaded not guilty to a raft of corruption and fraud charges.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Former president Jacob Zuma believes his corruption trial will conclude by the end of the year.

Speaking to hundreds of supporters outside the Pietermaritzburg high court on Wednesday, a jovial Zuma said his lawyers had presented evidence that would prove there was no case against him.

Zuma said he was now waiting to see how the NPA linked him to the sale of arms with French manufacturer Thales.

Zuma pleaded not guilty to a raft of corruption and fraud charges.

“The case cannot be postponed any further. It has been slightly postponed but it won't be postponed again to the next year. I think that by the end of this year the case will have concluded,” Zuma said.

Zuma sought the recusal of state prosecutor Billy Downer, accusing him and NPA investigators of leaking information to several people, including the media, around his case.

“We want him removed. We said that before the trial we need to look into whether he can still prosecute this case. We presented that evidence before the judge. Things got heated and people started shaking at the knees. They then said let’s adjourn and come back. We will come back before the end of this year,” Zuma said.

“Our case is this: that this prosecutor, who has never been able to investigate the case properly, must be removed. It should not end there, also that those who were assisting him in investigating the case [must be removed] because we found that they have been breaking the law,” he added.

He said they were asking the court how this trial could continue if the case was improperly handled.

Zuma told his supporters that documents they had presented to court would also prove that his case was politically motivated as evidenced by the so-called spy tapes.

“If you hear what was being said on the phones, you’ll just [understand] how corrupt people are. In 2005 they were discussing who was going to be the deputy president because I was going to be removed. I was indeed removed in 2005, not knowing that this thing has been planned. All of this is in our letter you must read that letter where we say the prosecutor must be removed,” Zuma told the crowd.

“What I’m talking about is the spy tapes. People I thought were my comrades call me a ‘Zulu boy’, call me a fool.”

During the rally outside the court, the ANC in KZN blocked several Zuma loyalists from addressing the crowds. ​This was in line with their decision that those around Zuma should be stopped from continuing to use the platform to further divide the party.

Zuma loyalists who were present included Carl Niehaus, Des van Rooyen, Malusi Gigaba and Supra Mahumapelo. None addressed the crowd. This led to a few of the supporters chanting “Supra, Supra, Supra”, demanding Mahumapelo addressed them — but this was not entertained.

Only suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and ANC KZN provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala were given the platform to speak.

In his very short address, Magashule did not touch on any ANC-related matters as he now faces a possibility of being charged for misconduct. He told the supporters that they were not in court to seek support for themselves.

“We are not here because we want support for ourselves, we are here to support president Jacob Zuma. We will allow him to speak because through him we would have also spoken,” Magashule said.

Zikalala sang Zuma's praises, telling the supporters that they have supported him since 2005, when the charges were first brought.

Zikalala then spoke about how Zuma stood with poor people in townships and rural areas, how Zuma had ushered in free education, fought for land expropriation and that, through his radical economic transformation approach, the country had black industrialists.

“We stand with you as the ANC because we know what you have done for us,” Zikalala said.

TimesLIVE


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