Zuma’s legal team plans BEE defence to corruption charges

18 March 2018 - 00:58 By RANJENI MUNUSAMY and Qaanitah Hunter
Former president Jacob Zuma leaves Tuynhuys at Parliament in Cape Town on February 20 2018.
Former president Jacob Zuma leaves Tuynhuys at Parliament in Cape Town on February 20 2018.
Image: REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

The ANC’s pledge to support black empowerment will be among the defences employed by former president Jacob Zuma’s legal team to fight the raft of charges he faces in connection with payments he received from Schabir Shaik, his former financial adviser.

Zuma’s lawyers will also attempt to prove that he had no criminal intention when he and Shaik met with French arms manufacturer Thales, and that he did not try to solicit a R500,000-a-year bribe in exchange for protection in the arms deal probe.

A multi-pronged strategy to keep Zuma out of jail is expected to unfold, beginning with a likely review of National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams’s decision on Friday to dismiss the former president’s representations on why Zuma  should not go on trial. 

Zuma’s legal team is also expected to make a fresh bid in court to have the case struck off. 

But if the trial goes ahead, Zuma’s lawyers will contest the merits by seeking to prove that his actions were in line with the ANC’s approach to make interventions to support black-owned businesses. 

They will also argue that some of the more than R4-million Zuma received from Shaik was in the form of loans, which he had repaid. 

A number of high-profile witnesses are listed to testify on behalf of the state, including Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, former judge Willem Heath and businessman Vivian Reddy.

Shaik claimed that he had been subpoenaed by the state to testify, but he is unlikely to be called because the evidence he gave in his own trial was rejected by Judge Hilary Squires as “simply incredible” and false. 

While the exact date of Zuma’s trial is unclear, his brother said the decision to reinstate the charges was a declaration of war.

“They have declared war. We as the Nxamalala clan are going to fight to the bitter end. We are back to the old days of war,” said Khanya Zuma.

Zuma’s eldest son, Edward Zuma, said he would  be issuing a statement on the latest developments around his father.

- additional reporting by Bongani Mthethwa

Read the full story in the Sunday Times