Dali Mpofu confirms he will represent Jacob Zuma at corruption trial
Advocate Dali Mpofu has confirmed that he is representing former president Jacob Zuma on corruption and fraud charges in the Pietermaritzburg high court on Wednesday.
Mpofu was embroiled in a “shut up” rant went he represented former SA Revenue Service (Sars) boss Tom Moyane at the state capture inquiry in March.
All you need to know | Zuma returns to court
The gallery was on Wednesday full of Zuma supporters and family, including his children Edward, Duduzile and Duduzane. Zandile Gumede, KZN premier Sihle Zikalala, health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu and suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule were also present.
The Pietermaritzburg high court precinct was abuzz before Zuma's appearance.
Hawkers selling ANC memorabilia set up stalls around Freedom Square, where a stage was erected for Zuma to address supporters after the proceedings.
Supporters wearing T-shirts with the slogan “Hands Off Zuma” were arriving for what appeared to be a large rally. Some had stayed overnight in the precinct.
Zuma arrived at court shortly after 8am.
He will plead not guilty to corruption, fraud and racketeering. However, another adjournment is on the cards.
The matter is expected to be postponed for the National Prosecuting Authority to reply to Zuma's special plea calling for the recusal of state prosecutor advocate Billy Downer.
Zuma states that the lead prosecutor has “no title to prosecute,” that his prosecution is political and that Downer has it in for him.
The adjournment will also allow Zuma's legal team to file proper documentation, as it is believed that the documents filed a week ago were incomplete.
Zuma will have to prove to the court that Downer, who has spent close to 15 years trying to bring him to book, is not entitled to prosecute him.
Zuma's plea is his latest move to put an end to the prosecution. In the past, Zuma’s defence team was accused of adopting a “Stalingrad approach” by launching court applications to delay the start of the corruption trial, while the state has always said it was ready to proceed.
In 2007, Zuma’s then-advocate, Kemp J Kemp, told the Durban high court: “We have adopted a Stalingrad strategy in response to this prosecution ... we will fight [the state] in every street, in every house, and in every room.”
Since then, under instruction from Zuma’s long-time attorney Michael Hulley, his defence team has tried every possible legal avenue to prevent him from being prosecuted.
Zuma is accused of receiving an annual bribe of R500,000 from French arms dealer Thales for protection from an investigation into the controversial arms deal.
The alleged bribe was facilitated by Schabir Shaik, who was Zuma’s former financial adviser.