Jacob Zuma Derek Hanekom apology Twitter

Photo: GCIS

Jacob Zuma, Thales arms deal trial to get underway

Former president Jacob Zuma faces charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering in connection with the arms deal

Jacob Zuma Derek Hanekom apology Twitter

Photo: GCIS

The arms deal case against former president Jacob Zuma is set to commence in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday, December 8, 2020. Zuma and French arms manufacturer face charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering.

The matter had to be postponed back in September 2020, due to the fact that travel restrictions, brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, prevented a number of important witnesses who were abroad to take the stand.

Zuma is alleged to have received 783 suspicious payments to the tune of R1.2 million from his financial advisor Shabir Shaik. Thales is seeking to have the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), to drop the racketeering charges against it, as it believes there is no evidence of such.

Zuma’s life, post-presidency, has been characterised by endless court appearances and legal battles – including in his personal life. He is also soon set to make an appearance before the State Capture Inquiry, after numerous postponements and attempts to avoid taking the stand.

“Why does the state want to charge Thales with Zuma when they do not know anything about these payments? Shaik conducted that enterprise which engaged in a pattern of racketeering activities. From 1995 to March 2000 there is no evidence that Thales was aware of these payments [to Zuma] let alone that it participated,” said the company’s legal counsel in the matter advocate Barry Roux.

Jacob Zuma Foundation lashes out at NPA

In 2018, the company had also made representations to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), for the charges to be set aside, before approaching the Constitutional Court – which eventually dismissed its bid to avoid prosecution in 2020.

The former president has long maintained that the charges against him are politically motivated and like everything else he has been accused of, intends taking the allegations head on.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation has been unhappy with the NPA’s work done in the case, accusing it of applying delaying tactics and not being ready to go ahead with the case.

“For too long, the NPA together with the media accused President Zuma of applying delaying tactics. Yet, it is the NPA that is not ready to proceed when President Zuma calls upon it to present its case against him. The silence of the media in this regard is deafening. Not once is the NPA accused of the so-called “STALINGRAD” when, after almost two decades of media fanfare that the NPA was ready, it is clear that the NPA is the one not ready,” the foundation has said.