Photo: AFP

Zuma trial: Msholozi called a ‘conspiracy theorist’ during heated session

South Africa’s former president has been slammed as a ‘conspiracy theorist’ by a senior lawyer on Wednesday, as tensions rise during the Zuma trial.


Photo: AFP

Things got satisfactorily spicy during Wednesday’s session of the Jacob Zuma trial. Msholozi, facing multiple counts of fraud and corruption, has asked for lead prosecutor Billy Downer to be recused from the case – but his reasons for doing so have been compared to those of a ‘conspiracy theorist’.

Lawyers clash during Zuma trial

The startling take from Wim Trengrove forced Zuma’s lawyer, Dali Mpofu, to defend his client immediately. The advocate was keen to stress that the recusal bid is based on an affidavit they have seen, which proves Downer cannot be seen as an impartial party while the former president is in the dock.

The exchange was a tense and heated one, as proceedings finally came to halt earlier on Wednesday afternoon. Justice Koen confirmed that court would be adjourned until 26 October 2021, as he deliberates the evidence put forward.

For Zuma, he’s bought himself another five weeks – but whether he will actually attend the trial is anyone’s guess. The 79-year-old has been battling a mystery illness for the past few months, and it ruled him out of appearing at the Pietermaritzburg High Court this week. Earlier this month, Msholozi was granted medical parole.

Former president branded a ‘conspiracy theorist’ in court

Sympathies are in short supply amongst the prosecution, though. Trengrove tore into Zuma and his legal team, claiming that uBaba KNOWS his ‘conspiracy theories’ do not stand up to scrutiny.

“The Zuma trial application is filled with conspiracy theories and not facts. He realises that his conspiracy theories do not stand up against any credible, first-hand refutation – and therefore he asks for a fresh judicially initiated inquiry into the question of whether he has a special defence. Now it’s a process that is unheard of in our law.”