Image via Adobe Stock
Image via Adobe Stock
The Constitutional Court of South Africa has dismissed French arms company Thales’ bid to stop its prosecution in former president Jacob Zuma’s corruption trial.
“The Constitutional Court has considered this application for direct leave to appeal. It has concluded that the application should be dismissed as it lacks reasonable prospects of success,” reads the order.
The application for leave to directly appeal was dismissed with costs. The trial is set to resume on 23 June.
The matter had been set to be heard on 6 May, however, the state and Zuma’s legal team have reached an agreement to have the case be heard next month.
There has been long-standing speculation over the extent of Zuma’s involvement in the infamous Arms Deal, which has been aided by numerous court appeals that have delayed the progress of the highly anticipated trial.
If you didn’t know, Thales is a co-accused in Zuma’s corruption trial. It was reported that Thales made a R500 000 bribe to Zuma, seeking protection from the investigation while the underhanded Arms Deal was seen through.
According to the Zuma foundation, the former president is eager to use the trial as a means to provide clarity on who benefitted from the Arms Deal.
“Former president Zuma, therefore, welcomes the opportunity that the upcoming trial will create for South Africans to get much-needed certainty about the bona fides of the State’s case against him as well as shed light on the much-needed certainty as to who exactly benefited from the alleged Arms Deal corruption,” the statement read.
Zuma failed to appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court in February, citing ill health. He also has a suspended warrant of arrest hanging over his head after his sick note was rejected by Judge Dhaya Pillay.
On Wednesday, 29 April, the Jacob Zuma Foundation confirmed that he had withdrawn his leave to appeal with the Constitutional Court and had instead decided to prepare for the trial. In the meantime, Thales persisted in a separate challenge that has now been dismissed.
Zuma’s lawyer, Eric Mabuza, said Zuma had resolved to put the matter to rest by demonstrating his innocence to South Africans by subjecting himself to a trial.
“The former president wants to prove his innocence in the trial. He wants to remove all obstacles to stand in the way of the trial so that he can go and face his accusers and for the whole of SA to know that he was not involved in the arms deal corruption,” Mabuza said.
This also comes after the former president recently hired Mabuza to represent him.
“The JG Zuma Foundation announces that former president Jacob Zuma has decided to terminate the mandate of his attorney of record, Daniel Mantsha of Lugisani Mantsha Attorneys, with immediate effect.”
Mantsha had been Zuma’s legal representative since 2018, to which the foundation said.
“During this period, he has worked very hard, with dedication to ensure that the defence team succeeds in its work. We would like to thank him for his efforts thus far and wish him well in his future endeavours.”